I’m not talking about the scientific definition of a Carbohydrate (you can Google that) – but what place does it have in our diets – and what does it do to us?
It’s important to understand what a Carbohydrate (or Carbs) are, because once you do understand it becomes so much easier to make smarter decisions about food – which means you will get the results you want faster!
Carbs are one of 3 main nutrients our bodies use as energy. Protein and Fats are the other two. All foods are made up of varying levels of Carbs, Fats + Proteins.
Carbs are the easiest energy source for our body to process. When we eat them, they are converted to glucose which is sent to all parts of our body so we can function. Because they are such an easy source of energy – our bodies will always use it first, instead of burning body fat.
Many people think of rice, potatoes and pasta as ‘carbs’ but that’s only a few examples of the huge range of foods that contain carbs.
All fruit and vegetables, breads, grain products, and sugary foods contain carbs. Some are a lot higher than others – for example – all starchy vegetables such as potato and pumpkin are way higher in carbs than green vegetables such as broccoli. You can learn more about specific foods here.
When people talk about following a “Low Carb Diet”, it means they are choosing foods that are made up of less carbs, but more fats and proteins.
There is a lot of talk about “Good Carbs” and “Bad Carbs” – and to a point this is true. It is better to eat a banana than a Mars Bar because you get additional vitamins and minerals such as B6 and Potassium which aren’t in Mars Bars. It’s better to eat wholegrain bread rather than white bread as you get extra fibre.
However, putting aside these additional perks of “Good Carbs” – after you eat ANY carby food it is broken down into glucose. Your body doesn’t know the difference between a banana and Mars Bar when it comes to this.
Think of it like a rain water tank. Our bodies are the tank, and the glucose is the water that we use as energy. If we eat too many carbs, our tank’s get full. If we are not using the “rain water” (glucose) by moving and exercising, our tanks will “spill over”.
Once the tank overflows – this is when the glucose turns to body fat – that makes us feel uncomfortable and unhappy, most likely with love handles 😉
On the opposite end of the scenario – if our glucose “tank” is running dry when we have used more energy that is in our tank, our bodies look for the next easiest source of energy – body fat – to burn and keep us going.
This is why when we reduce carbs in our diet, and our tank runs “dry” we will lose weight!
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