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Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

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Fitness Tips

Making sure your diet is balanced with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats is important, but what happens if we don’t eat enough or too much of these vital foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s take a look at carbohydrates.

Knowing what to eat can be confusing, particularly as there’s so much inconsistent information out there on nutrition.

At Farrell’s, we take the speculation out of what to eat, how much and when. When you follow our tested, whole-food nutrition plan, you will have results. And feel the transformation in your body and mind that only nutrient-rich food can give.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source for energy. There are simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Common simple carb foods include:

  • Milk (also a protein)
  • Table sugar
  • Fruit

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are foods that include multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”

Foods rich in complex carbs include:
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Starchy vegetables like corn and peas
  • Pasta
  • Bread

Glycemic Index Explained

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) fluctuates based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar rises.

The Farrell's nutrition plan was created to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and eating too much.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an important macronutrient. Cutting out or reducing carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve outlined below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our main fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs limits the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin burning fat. Doesn’t sound negative, but for active people, weakness and energy loss will happen quickly and long-term effects could mean decreased performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is important for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet can cause constipation, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to stay regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been linked to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that helps us feel happy. Too few healthy carbs can mean a decline in serotonin levels, possibly causing mood changes like anger, sadness, and even mild symptoms of depression.

4. Hypoglycemia—Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a normal metabolic process. If you don’t have adequate glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is called ketosis. During this process, your body creates ketones for a fuel source. If you’re eating a balanced diet, this isn’t a problem and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become dangerous is when your body accrues too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals use a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to confirm you’re still getting enough of what your body needs to perform normally.

3 Effects of Too Many Carbs

What could happen to your body if you eat too many unhealthy carbs?

1. Sugar Crash—We’ve all experienced it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling tired. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause an increase in blood sugar because they are quickly absorbed versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a slower pace, releasing energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to adjust blood sugar, which creates the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense in fiber will help avoid the carb spike and crash.

2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate result of taking in too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for decreasing the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are vital for your body to work normally, they need to be the right size for what is needed. An overabundance of sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweetened beverage to your diet every day increases your risk by 15 percent, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in November 2010 in Diabetes Care.

3. Weight Gain—Taking in too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also cause weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to more health problems like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have an excess in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body stores the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When devising meals and grocery shopping, make a practice to read the nutrition label. Avoid foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water instead of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re applying your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already receiving the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to operate successfully and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not achieving your fitness goals, contact one of our locations or enroll in our next session to experience a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!

Sources:

  1. LiveStrong
  2. Everyday Health
  3. LiveStrong
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