There is a ton of publicity on low carb diets. When it is time to decide what to eat, what is a person supposed to do? It is time to get back to the basics and remember we seemed to have been a lot thinner of a population before we started cutting carbs.
Carbohydrate Fuels Our Bodies
The most fundamental aspect of nutrition is that carbohydrates fuel our bodies. Your body prefers to burn glucose (which is the simple form that all carbohydrates are broken down into) to fuel both the muscles and the brain. Your brain actually works off 100% carbs, so if you start cutting carbs your taking away the exact energy your brain wants. Did you ever read the little engine that could? When your body doesn’t get enough carbs the little engine is your body. Your body is going “I think I can, I think I can” and yet nothing happens. During exercise or physical activities, the body uses carbs in the blood stream for energy. Once that supply of carbs is gone, the body will begin to breakdown glycogen (stored glucose) for energy. After your stored glycogen is gone, your body needs to find other sources of energy. We would love your body to start taking fat, unfortunately your body will revert to breaking down muscle for energy. When your body doesn’t have the energy it wants, it will actually store fat for reserve. Your body needs carbs before your workout for energy, during your longer than 60 min. workouts, and after to replenish your body. Giving your body carbs after your workout, your body learns to store more in its muscle cells which means you store less fat on your body.
With low carb diets, people typically get less fiber in their diet and essential vitamins and minerals. Two important aspects of high fiber diets is better digestive functioning and lower risk of cancer. Also, diets high in fiber help regulate your blood glucose levels which allows energy to be distributed better throughout the day. Most people substitute carbs with high protein and fat diets which can raise up your bad cholesterol. Also, carbohydrates absorb water which is the #1 most important substance for your body. With low carb diets the initial weightloss is coming from the loss of water as people are simply dehydrating themselves. Also, have you heard of water soluble vitamins? When we dehydrate our bodies, we are not able to absorb essential vitamins even if we are getting them into are diets.
Glycemic Index Values
We hear there are bad carbs and good carbs. This connotation starts off already for failure, yet we use it for now to explain what they are. Good carbs are typically high in fiber and the body takes longer to absorb allowing for more stable energy levels. These consist of your whole grains, deeply colored fruits, and vegetables. You will also here those called low Glycemic carbohydrates. Bad carbs are candy, sodas, and processed sugars and are called high Glycemic carbohydrates. The energy in these are quickly released causing a spike in your blood sugar, which gives you a burst of energy that can then be stored into your fat cells if you do not burn it quickly. Most people crash after eating bad carbs and either take a nap or use stimulants like coffee or energy drinks to make it through the day.
The first thing we need to know is that carbs are not bad or good. We do want to consume the majority of carbs being low Glycemic, though there are times when high Glycemic will be what we need. One hundred calories of whole grain wheat flour and one hundred calories of white flour is still 100 calories. If your body wants 100 calories it won’t care. The problem is that most high Glycemic carbs come in high calorie servings. If you are going to eat the cupcake, you are going to get to eat half as compared to eating 2 slices of whole wheat bread. High Glycemic carbs are important to use during exercise that lasts over an hour, as you need to give your body energy and in a form that it can quickly use. The most important thing to remember is your body needs carbs and to eat high Glycemic carbs in moderation. LIVE’s Nutrition Plan is designed to help you understand how much you can eat.
Weight Comes Back
If you remember earlier in the article talking about how the initial weight loss from low carb diets is water? People can actually lose 10-20 pounds of water in one week in certain circumstances. When you heard wrestlers talking about cutting weight, water is what they were cutting. I used to do hydration tests on wrestlers at a human performance center after two wrestlers died of cutting water weight. Also, as your body doesn’t get the carbs it wants your body stores more of the fat you eat. You are actually getting fatter even though the scale is going down from water. When you come off the diet you have more fat and your body will start to add the water back and you will weigh more than when you started. If you are on a low carb diet and go to a Italian restaurant and then gain five pounds it isn’t fat, your body simply rehydrated itself from you actually giving your body carbohydrates.
Back to Basics
LIVE’s Nutrition Plan is about balance, five small meals throughout the day and how to eat the treats too in moderation. Remember if you give your body what it wants, your body will reward you with the body you have always desired.