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Carbohydrates: Good, Bad Or Ugly?

by Repfuel Sports 09 May 2023 0 Comments

Hello fitness enthusiasts! RepFuel Sports (RF) recognizes the importance of decoding carbohydrates, often misunderstood and frequently maligned yet crucial to our diet and fitness routines.

What Are Carbohydrates (Carbs)?

These structures, made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules packed with energy labelled CHOs or "carbs", are typically the primary fuel that powers your cardio sessions or intensive training regimes. Therefore, carbohydrates should be viewed positively and as integral to achieving your fitness goals. Imagine carbs as cricket players on the field where monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose act as opening batsmen providing immediate energy contributions.

 Oligosaccharides, followed by lactose and sucrose middle-order players, deliver constant energy contributions. Finally, complex polysaccharides, including starches and fibres, act like all-rounders capable of providing slow but steady energy releases similar to well-timed innings. Indian food typically contains high levels of carbohydrates found in common fruits, potatoes, sweets and various forms of bread such as chapati, roti or naan. When digested, these sources break down into glucose, which provides immediate energy for the body or gets stored for later use – causing weight gain if stored excessively due to higher energy intake than expenditure.

Why Do We Need Carbs – Different Roles?

Carbohydrates are an essential element of one's diet, particularly where physical activity is involved, since they fuel important cellular functions, including those of the brain, central nervous system and skeletal muscles.

While it's true that under certain circumstances, proteins and fats can make substitutes for lack of carbohydrates,  there's inherent risk involved with substitution since these materials aren't perfect substitutes. For example, protein instead of carbohydrates could lead to muscle loss, similar to how using wood from a bridge could reduce wooden structural integrity over time. The truth is that when it comes to basic survival needs, carbohydrates may not be considered essential; however, if one strives to perform optimally during high-intensity exercises such as sprinting or heavy lifting – or just any challenging physical activity - then consuming carbs becomes indispensable.

Despite the common belief that there might be certain times during which consuming carbs may not be ideal, studies have shown this to be nothing more than a myth. Interestingly enough, having these versatile food items before bed can provide continuous energy throughout the night while facilitating reparative processes. So sure enough, our motto remains "love carbs even at night" here at RF! Furthermore, replenishing glycogen levels and restoring much-needed energy stores after a challenging workout through carb consumption is critical; think of it as refuelling your car after an extended drive! Therefore, it's imperative to recognize how pivotal carb intake is along any fitness journey.

Carbohydrates are more than just energy sources; they contain vital micronutrients and fibre - primarily complex carbohydrates like polysaccharides in baked beans, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Delightful as they may be, these foods also offer critical nourishment for our bodies optimal function. Fibre is dietary gold found chiefly in these carbohydrate-rich foods due to their low-calorie density while regulating digestion by promoting satiety when ingested.

For instance, an apple delivers only 80 calories. Still, it has five grams of fibre, filling enough for a small meal replacement option between larger meals or snacks. In addition, high-fibre diets work wonders for hunger control and physically expand stomach volume, signalling fullness feedback to our brains via nerves. After all, hunger regulation aside, fibre plays a significant part in maintaining overall gut health by reducing cholesterol levels & decreasing colon cancer risk as it breaks down into beneficial substances within the digestive system after consumption. This impact on gut health further facilitates bowel regularity, a fundamental factor in maintaining excellent overall gut health.

Fibre may belong under the carbohydrate category, but its calorie content stands out since it only delivers around two calories per gram instead of the usual four in common carbs like pasta and bread. Consequently, including more fibre in your regular meals can offer many health benefits without unnecessarily consuming too many additional calories. To attain optimum results on overall wellbeing through proper nutrition intake- professionals recommend consuming no less than every individual needs at least 25g of fibre daily.

Controlling blood sugar levels through digestion speed is critical in maintaining healthy eating habits- complex carbs digest slower and offer greater satiety and better blood sugar regulation. Meanwhile, simple carbs can lead to irregular blood sugar spikes that can negatively impact overall health. So prioritizing unprocessed, complex and fibre-rich carbs can be a game changer for many people seeking optimal nutrition.

A Low Carbs Diet For Fat Loss?

For some individuals, this might mean cutting out items like potatoes or pasta; for others, it means limiting total daily carbohydrate intake to under 50g (even factoring sources like fruit and nuts). Remembering that all carbohydrates should be accounted for when following a low-carb approach.

Generally, these diets consume between 50 and 150g of carbs per day (equivalent to roughly 10% -30% of an individual's daily caloric intake). In contrast, ketogenic diets typically require less than 20-50 g of carbohydrates on any given day (comprising up to around 4%-10% of one's daily calorie intake).

Studies have suggested that low-carbohydrate diets may be more effective for weight loss than their low-fat counterparts in some cases. Additionally, they have been associated with improved blood pressure and healthier fatty acid levels. However, it's worth noting that when compared with traditional approaches, differences may not always be clinically significant over the long term - even if they are statistically noteworthy.

Ultimately creating an overall calorie deficit remains key. After extensively reviewing different diet types, including low-carb and low-fat approaches, research has indicated that only a minor disparity in weight loss exists between them – no more than 1 2 kg. This implies that overweight and obese individuals are free to choose any weight loss diet based on their preference without hesitation. As long as you can maintain a calorie deficit, even if your love for carbs is impeccable, you can safely consume it regularly with no worries! Following this approach enhances adherence, ultimately leading to consistency, resulting in burning fats!

    A fascinating study also found significant results after comparing four diets with equal calories but distinct proportions: 1) Balanced Protein & Carb Intake; 2) Normal Protein & Low Carb; 3) High Protein & Low Carb; and finally, the one with the highest protein and the normal carb intake. Notably, the study found that high protein diets were most effective in reducing fat mass regardless of fat and carb intake levels.

At RepFuel Sports (RF), we reckon that low-carb approaches' success and higher fat consumption depend on increased protein intake rather than refraining from carbs. So ditching standard carb-laden choices such as potatoes, rice, or pasta could result in protein and fat-rich meals like omelettes or chicken salads as a replacement.

RF's approach to healthy living is uncomplicated - carbs play an integral role in a wholesome diet, and their intake should be regulated throughout the day rather than during specific periods such as post-workout or nighttime meals. Subsequently, incorporating carbohydrates into your post-training meal accelerates glycogen storage replenishment while concurrently aiding recovery.

Likewise, consuming carbohydrates before bed has been found to aid in sleeping patterns, leading to better overall physical health.

Does Consuming Carbs At Night Lead To Weight Gain?

This falsehood might discourage many from enjoying their favourite carb-rich dinners. But here's the reality: indulging in carbohydrates at nighttime won't necessarily hinder your physique progress- as long as total calorie intake aligns with healthy maintenance of lean muscle mass.

While some individuals may limit carbohydrate consumption after specific hours for accountability reasons, everyone doesn't need to do so. So what's the real deal with carbohydrates and weight management? It's not just a matter of when you eat them - it's about long-term calorie balance. Carbs support a healthy diet and provide energy for fitness-related activities like cardio and training sessions. Whether you're a fan of savoury Indian flatbreads like aloo paratha or nourishing grain-based dishes like poha, properly portioned carbohydrate intake can fuel your body with what it needs.

Interestingly studies have even suggested that consuming carbs at night can improve sleep quality - a key factor in maintaining wellness and optimal recovery. So devotees of carb-heavy foods need not reject them post-sunset. Rather they can savour these delicacies during the nighttime hours while being mindful of their overall calorie intake.

Takeaway Notes

The value of carbohydrates in maintaining a balanced diet is often underestimated or overlooked due to misconceptions about their effects on weight gain. However, carbohydrates are crucial in providing primary energy sources for high-intensity physical activity and optimal brain function. Although our bodies can adapt to reduced carbohydrate intake by using fats or proteins instead, this adaptation does not render carbohydrates unnecessary for effectively maintaining health and wellbeing goals. Moreover, the timing of carbohydrate consumption does not determine weight gain - total calorie count is what counts most significantly! So don't be afraid to include carbs in your daily routine - they hold many benefits!

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