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Should You Cut Out Carbs?

15th April 2019
Luke Adams

When you first start to understand weight and fitness goals, it can often difficult to remember key dietary terminology to enable you to choose the food you need. To compound the confusion, there are plenty of “fad” diets out there giving conflicting information on what to and what not to eat.

A diet, whether to gain weight or lose weight is personal. Once you understand a few core factors, you will be able to adapt any diet to suit your own body.

The first thing to understand is the 6 nutrients. Don’t worry too much about them being a nutrient, just think of them as nutritious, so therefore they are needed.

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

 

Fibre is often referred to as the 7thnutrient, but fibre is technically derived from carbs.

Over the coming weeks, we will explain each and its importance. This week we will cover carbohydrates(starches, sugar & fibre), which often get a bad name. Many people believe they should be cut out of your diet in order to lose weight. Carbs are mainly used for the body’s energy but can be turned into fat (stored energy), hence people want to ditch carbs.

Carbs are broken down into two main categories: simple and complex.

What is Good & What is Bad

Complex is good and simple is not so good.

To remember this point try applying ‘association’ memory methods; the human body is complex, interesting and has unique variation in structure, therefore, needs something complex to make it work properly, not something basic or simple. Of course, you can use your own story of association to help you remember.

Not limited to, but things like fizzy drinks, sweets and most processed foods contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. To complicate things, simple sugars can also be in natural produce like fruit but don’t worry too much about that, just remember Complex is good and Simple not so.

The Science Bit

If you want a bit more detail, the main difference between the two groups is their chemical structures. Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. When in your body, the end product for both results in glucose.

What to Note

Notably, when it comes to dieting, a key difference between the two is the time needed to digest. Your body digests simple sugars much quicker than if you eat the same amount of calories that are made up of complex carbs. This is because simple sugars are closer to the end product than complex carbs which need more time to digest.  Subsequently, they are used up quicker, providing a short burst of energy. This is an important factor because actually after eating food with simple sugars you soon get hungrier again.  So having lots of sweets, fizzy drinks, cakes etc may fill you up quickly, may provide an energy burst but it will be brief and you will soon be reaching for more food. More food that all adds up to a lot of calories by the end of the day.

You will have no doubt seen some diets recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is a positive step but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of important nutrients your body needs to fight illnesses, give you the energy you need and keep your body well balanced.

There are plenty of good carbs and you can learn more here

So next time you see the latest low carb claim, make an informed decision, ignore it and grab an apple.

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