Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fit Tip Tuesday - Carbs Are Your Friends!

Today we'll discuss CARBS. Unlike proteins, which are used as building materials, carbs are used for ENERGY!  Intense exercise burns up muscle glycogen quickly, and if you fail to replace it by eating enough carbs, you "hit the wall," or "bonk,".

However, not all carbs are the same. Some are good: they supply you with energy and nutrients and help you get leaner and more muscular. Some are bad: they tend to store as fat, contribute to health problems, and are nutritionally empty. To shed fat, build muscle, and increase your energy, you need to choose the right kind of carbs.

Simple Carbs: digested quickly & cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. These include fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup and other types of sugars. (Whole, fresh fruit has natural fructose and is totally fine - we are talking about added sugars.)


Complex Carbs: these contain fiber and they provide sustained energy without the highs and lows you get from simple carbs. Complex carbs include potatoes, yams, cereals, grains, pasta, rice, oats, legumes, and beans. Your body is able to completely absorb and digest all the caloric energy in starches, so starchy carbs are more calorie dense than fibrous carbs.


Fibrous Carbs: these are also complex carbs, but we put them in a separate category to describe leafy greens and other nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, etc. Fibrous foods take more time to chew and swallow, add bulk to your meals, decrease appetite and are super low in calories! Combined with lean protein, fibrous carbs are your secret weapon in the war against fat. 
Putting it together:  You should aim to have a starchy carb and a fibrous carb with each meal (along with your protein).  Chicken Fajitas with whole-wheat tortillas are a good example, too. 

Eat fruit every day with meals or as snacks. If you don't have a fibrous vegetable with a meal, have a fruit.
30 - 50% of your total calories should come from natural carbs.

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