Should I really be eating carbs??
Let's talk carbohydrates and why they are so important for your diet and your muscle maintenance and growth!
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT:
Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients that the human body needs in order to function properly. They are the body's preferred source of energy and are essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then used by cells to produce energy. Additionally, carbohydrates help to regulate blood sugar levels and are important for digestion too.
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT FOR MUSCLE GROWTH:
Carbohydrates are important for muscle growth because they provide energy for the body during exercise, especially weightlifting and intense workout sessions. They are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, which is a form of glucose. During weightlifting or other intense physical activities, glycogen is broken down into glucose and used for energy, allowing the muscles to continue working for an extended period of time. Additionally, consuming enough carbohydrates can help to prevent muscle breakdown by providing a readily available energy source for the body to use. Consuming carbohydrates also helps to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles after workout which lead to muscle recovery and growth.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES TO CONSUME FOR OVERALL HEALTH:
The best types of carbohydrates to consume are those that are high in fibre and low in added sugars. These types of carbohydrates are often referred to as "complex" carbohydrates and include foods such as:
· Whole grains: such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, whole wheat bread. · Fruits and vegetables: they contains a lot of fibre and important vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds. · Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas
These complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and provides a steady source of energy. They also tend to be more filling, which can help with weight management. Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, such as refined sugars and white breads, are digested quickly and can cause blood sugar levels to spike. They should be consumed in moderation, of course we are all about balance but if your goal is overall health improvement aim to have less of the simple carbs.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR DAILY INTAKE SHOULD BE CARBS:
The exact percentage of daily carbohydrate intake that is appropriate for an individual can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, activity level, and overall health. However, there are some general guidelines that can be followed:
Adults should aim for 45-65% of their daily calorie intake to come from carbohydrates.
It is recommended that endurance athletes (e.g. marathon runners, triathletes) should consume around 55-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, while strength and power athletes (e.g. weightlifters, sprinters) should consume around 45-55% of their daily calories from carbohydrates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other nutrition organizations set the range between 55-75% for a normal healthy individual as a general guideline.
However, it is important to remember that everyone is different and has different requirements from one another, the specific carbohydrate requirements for an individual will depend on their individual needs, goals and lifestyle. If you are unsure about what percentage of your daily intake should come from carbohydrates, it is best ask for help with your overall nutrition working alongside a coach. :-)