By: Ginger Gayadat, Personal Trainer
Low-carb is everywhere. But are carbohydrates really the root of all evil? Let’s take a look at their actual role in your body.
Carbohydrates provide the body not only energy, but vitamins, minerals and in some cases fiber. As you digest the carbohydrates your body starts the complex process of carbohydrate breakdown, insulin release and sugar absorption which ideally creates a steady stream of energy for you.
Watching your intake of this vital macro-nutrient however is also important. Taking in what you need for your level of activity and not over-indulging, like with most foods, will help keep you energized and not storing extra glycogen which will turn into extra fat.
But not all carbs are created equal. They’re generally divided into simple (rapidly broken down) and complex carbs. You want to minimize the simple and focus more on the complex.
Some examples of “good” carbs or complex carbs are whole-grain rice, bread, and cereal. However some good simple carbs include things like fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Steering clear of things such as refined sugars with simple carbs. After a work out getting back the energy spent can be done quickly by having a simple carb with a protein, like fruit with yogurt or milk.
“Bad” carbs can be easily spotted in refined and processed food. Looking for things like “enriched flour”, “multi-grain”, or “fructose sweetener” and “liquid fructose” which will have extra sugars.
Knowing how much you are supposed to get of even the good carbs can help you reach weight loss goals, or just help keep you from gaining extra weight. Carbs should be about 45%-65% of your daily diet.
For example, if your goal is 1800 calories per day, 45%– 1800 calories x 0.45= 810 Calories.
810 calories divided by 4 (there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates)= 202 grams.
65%- 1800 x 0.65= 1170 calories 1170 divided by 4= 293 grams.
So a person with a daily calorie intake of 1800 should have between 202 and 293 grams of carbohydrates.
By enjoying carbs in moderation, and focusing on the healthier complex carbs, you can maintain a healthy weight without feeling deprived. And your body will be getting the nutrients it needs to be at it’s best!
Ginger Gayadat is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer and weight loss and management specialist. She offers free fitness consultations and is part of Joining Forces, offering a hour of free fitness services per military member or immediate family member. She’s also a mom of 2 and a military spouse whose goal is to help guide people to lifestyle changes to lead more fit and healthy lives. She’s the resident personal trainer for Elevo Dynamics.