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Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

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Fitness Tips

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

Knowing what to eat can be confusing, especially with so much contradictory information out there on nutrition.

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

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are our body’s central 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 have 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) goes up based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar goes up.

The Farrell's nutrition plan was made to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, preventing cravings and having too much food.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an vital macronutrient. Cutting out or decreasing carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve summarized below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our main fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs reduces the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin using fat. Doesn’t sound bad, but for active individuals, fatigue and energy loss will settle in quickly and long-term effects could mean reduced performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is essential 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 be regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been tied to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that makes us feel happy. Limited healthy carbs can mean a drop in serotonin levels, possibly producing 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. Warning signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a natural metabolic operation. If you don’t have enough glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is referred to as ketosis. During this process, your body creates ketones for a fuel source. If you’re consuming a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy is when your body has too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals adopt a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to assure you’re still getting enough of what your body has to have to function 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 been through it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling sleepy. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a spike in blood sugar because they are quickly broken down versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a less rapid pace, releasing energy over time. When this spike takes place, our bodies release hormones to regulate blood sugar, which causes the crash. Carbs that are complex and rich in fiber will help avoid the carb spike and crash.

2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate cause of eating too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Limiting your portions is essential for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are necessary for proper performance, they need to be sized for what is needed. An overabundance of sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweetened drink to your diet each day heightens 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—Eating too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also lead to 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 planning meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to read the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water as a substitute for sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re following your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the proper, balanced nutrition your body needs to perform successfully and efficiently to achieve your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not reaching your fitness goals, contact one of our locations or sign up for our next session to undergo 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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