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Carbohydrates, the body's energy source

Poor carbs, they get such a bad rap. Carbohydrates are essentially sugars and are the body's universal energy source. Your body has to convert everything else into sugar- glucose, to be specific. So no matter what you start with, you end up with glucose- the only sugar your body's cells can use for energy. That being said, you can see why your body uses carbs for energy first- there is less work involved.

There are two types of carbohydrates, simple (simple sugars) and complex (starches). The differences in these are in the chemical structure which determines how quickly they are digested and absorbed. Here is where I am going to blow your mind, wait for it...

Vegetables and fruits are carbohydrates... not just bread, potatoes, and pasta!

So when someone tells me they aren't eating carbs I wonder exactly what they are eating?? Then I realize they don't actually know what they are talking about.

Shitty, processed, sugar and fat laden, energy dense, nutrient deficient foods are bad for you. Carbohydrates, however, are good for you. Again, I would be wary of any diet plan that eliminates or severely restricts an entire macronutrient. A better diet plan would be to limit eating shitty processed foods.

So how many carbs do you need? Well, it depends on how active you are. The more you move the more you need. Another caveat- if you exercise 1 hour per day and sit the rest of the day, you are essentially sedentary. No judgement, just an honest assessment of activity.

Carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates, are best eaten around the most active part of your day. If you exercise in the morning, then eat most of your carbs for the day in the morning. The inverse if true for fat, which should be limited around activity. More on this tomorrow when we talk about fats.

The amount of carbohydrates you need depends largely on your activity and can be calculated here. However, make sure you are honest about the amount of activity you get daily and I would wait to do this until we finish the entire nutrition series.

Tomorrow, the wild world of fats.



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