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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 important foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s take a look at carbohydrates.

Knowing what you should can be confusing, since there is so much inconsistent information out there on nutrition.

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

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) increases based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar rises.

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

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an vital macronutrient. Removing or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve outlined below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our central fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs decreases 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 bad, but for people who are active, exhaustion and energy loss will occur quickly and long-term effects could mean decreased performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is essential for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet may 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 connected to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Too few healthy carbs can mean a decline 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. Signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a natural metabolic operation. If you don’t have ample glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is known as ketosis. During this process, your body makes ketones for a fuel source. If you’re following a balanced diet, this won’t be a problem and your body adjusts to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy 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 adopt a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to make certain you’re still getting an ample amount of what your body requires 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 gone 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 hike in blood sugar because they are quickly digested versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a slower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to regulate blood sugar, which prompts the crash. Carbs that are complex and high 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 put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right portion size is essential for reducing the risk of having type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are necessary for proper function, they need to be portioned 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 daily ups 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—Consuming 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 a number of other issues like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have too much in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body keeps the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When devising meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to read the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and drink water in place of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re following your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already taking in the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to work successfully and efficiently to perform 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 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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