Do you know what kinds of benefits carbs provide?
Carbohydrates have been given a bad rap in the media lately with many people going gluten free or trying fad diets like Paleo and the Keto diet, which are really just reincarnations of the Atkins diet, even though it's reported that Dr. Atkins died from Heart Disease. Well, I'm here to tell you that not all carbs are created equal and there are many benefits to complex carbs! Here are 8 of them:
- They give energy! Carbs are the chief source of energy for all body functions and muscular exertion.
- They are also the brain’s main fuel.
- They improve sports performance. Carbs do this by increasing time to exhaustion for exercise. To maximize this, consume 30-60g carbs for exercise lasting over 1 hour. A Sports beverage with carbs such as Gatorade is a great option as it also replaces electrolytes.
- Carbs help the body utilize protein and fat.
- Carbs regulate digestion.
- Carbs are protein sparing because energy needs will be meet by carbs thus saving protein for tissue repair and growth. Therefore, we do not want the body to use protein for energy which results in muscle wasting.
- Carbs provide much needed fiber.
- Carbs allows for max fat utilization. “Fat burns in the carb flame”. If an individual wants to lose fat, it can’t occur without sufficient carbs without resulting in “hitting the wall” which is like having no energy left.
But let's be clear that complex carbs from veggies, fruit, legumes, and whole grains provide bountiful benefits. The carbs that are "bad" are the refind carbs coming from cakes, cookies, and some crackers and bread.
What are the benefits of Protein?
Protein has falsely been given the holy grail status for macronutrients. In fact, it is the macronutrient that is needed the least by the body. What are the benefits of Protein?:
- Once broken down into amino acids, it repairs body tissues.
And remember, consuming extra protein will not unleash a magic well of muscle building capacity!
Recommended Macronutrient Breakdown:
60% of daily calories should come from CARBS
25% of daily calories should come from FAT
15% of daily calories should come from PROTEIN
-Kimberly Garrett, CHC, CPT, FNS, BS
Clark, M., Lucett, S., & Sutton, B. (2012). 4th Ed. Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN-13:978-1608312818