I hope you had a GREAT weekend!!
Are you ready for another week?! I am! While many people hate Monday, I actually look forward to a new week! Monday is a new start...a chance to start fresh with my current goals...a chance to start my week waking up with determination and going to bed with satisfaction! Bring it on :D
Today I'm posting information on Carbohydrates ;) Not sure what to think about carbohydrates these days? The following information may help answer questions you may have!
Ready?! Read away!! :D
Our body uses carbohydrates (carbs) to make glucose which is the fuel that gives us energy and helps keep everything going. Our body can use glucose immediately or store it in our liver and muscles for when it's needed.
One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories.
Carbohydrates provide the body with:
- Nutrition that fat and protein can't (from complex carbohydrates).
- Satiety by keeping glycogen stores full and adding bulk to the diet.
- Proper cellular fluid balance, maximizing cellular efficiency.
- Proper blood sugar levels, if there's a consistent intake of low-glycemic carbohydrates.
- Spare protein for building muscle.
Our body needs carbohydrates because:
- They're the perfect and preferred form of energy.
- They constantly need to be replaced, causing a craving that must be satisfied.
- Parts of the central nervous system rely exclusively on carbohydrate.
- They efficiently burn and use fat and protein.
Recommended carbohydrate intake:
- Daily diet should include 25 to 38 g of fiber.
- Carbohydrate intake typically should be between 45 and 65% of total caloric intake according to preference, performance, and satiety.
- Carbohydrate recommendations should be estimated after protein and fat requirements are met.
- Fruits, whole grains, and vegetables are all excellent sources of fiber.
It's recommended that we consume a high-carbohydrate meal 2 - 4 hours before exercising for more then a hour. In endurance exercise of greater then a 90 minute duration, carbohydrate loading can be used to increase muscle glycogen before an endurance event. For exercise lasting more then 1 hour, endurance athletes should consume between 30 - 60 g of carbohydrate every hour (which may consist of sports beverages). After exercise, consuming 1.5 g per kg of carbohydrate within 30 minutes is recommended. Additional meals of 1.5 g per kg of carbohydrate every 2 hours are recommended to completely restore muscle glycogen.
For fat loss or muscle gain, carbohydrates should generally make up the highest % of macronutrient calories. According to the Institute of Medicine the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for carbohydrate intake for an adult is 45 - 65% of total caloric intake. There's no need to reduce carbohydrate % and carbohydrate-rich whole foods to lose fat. America's increasing problem of obesity is not a direct result of carbohydrate intake, but rather one of energy imbalance.
Here's a list of "good" carbohydrates we should be making a major part of our diet and "bad" carbohydrates as well ;)
- LEGUMES. Rich in minerals and low in fat, legumes such as lentils, peas, and beans (such as lima beans, kidney beans, and black beans) are also excellent sources of protein. Almonds and edamame are legumes as well.
- WHOLE GRAINS. These contain the germ, endosperm, and bran of the grain, capturing all its nutrients from the ground up. In refined grains the nutrient-rich germ and bran are discarded and only the sugary endosperm is retained. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, farro, bulgur, einkorn, emmer, and spelt. Eat them in their whole state because when ground into flour, they're digested faster. But pasta, bread, and cereal made from whole grains are okay.
- GREEN VEGETABLES. This includes leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, bok choy, cabbage, and Swiss chard as well as broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, and asparagus.
- OTHER VEGETABLES AND FRUITS. Carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, and beets.
- ONIONS, LEEKS, SCALLIONS, AND GARLIC.
- SWEET POTATOES AND WINTER SQUASH. Butternut and acorn.
- ANY KIND OF FRUIT. However, fruit has more sugar and more calories then vegetables do, so limit to a few pieces a day.
- DRIED FRUIT. Raisins, mango, prunes, and apricots. But dried fruit has more calories and sugar per ounce then fresh does because all the water is gone. Don't go overboard.
- REFINED GRAINS. These are the ones we want to curb as much as possible, as they turn to sugar quickly after eating. Common refined non-whole grain products include white rice, white flour, white bread, and white pasta.
- SUGAR. Candy, chocolate, table syrups, anything made with white sugar are all empty calories. Cut back on sugar and be sure to know all the different names it goes by.
- FRUIT JUICES. Instead of processed fruit juices, eat whole fruit. The nutrients and fiber are great and whole fruits are slower to digest, leaving us feeling filled up longer.
- SODA. Soda is a big source of sugar in the American diet. Did you know that a 12 ounce coke has 9 teaspoons of sugar in it?! Yikes!! I know some of us have a hard time giving up soda. I try and limit myself to 1 soda a week ;)
I hope this information is helpful! Maybe you even learned something new?!
It's important to choose carbohydrates wisely! Foods containing carbohydrates are part of a healthful diet!!
If you have ANY questions OR comments about this post, I'd love to hear from you :)
Have a HEALTHY day!
See you on Wednesday!! :D
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist