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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 go over carbohydrates.

Knowing what you should can be confusing, since there is 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 deliver.

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 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) goes up based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar goes up.

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

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. Eliminating or reducing carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve shown below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our central fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs limits 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 negative, but for active people, weakness and energy loss will happen 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 may cause constipation, so it’s important to ensure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to stay regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been linked to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that helps 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. Signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a regular metabolic action. If you don’t have enough 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 consuming a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body adjusts to your levels. Where ketosis can become dangerous 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 confirm you’re still getting enough of what your body needs to work 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 experienced it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling tired. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause an increase in blood sugar because they are quickly digested versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a lower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike takes place, our bodies release hormones to manage blood sugar, which prompts the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense in fiber will help avoid the carb spike and crash.

2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate effect of eating too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are necessary for your body to work normally, they need to be portioned for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweetened soda 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 cause weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of other problems 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 holds onto the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When planning meals and grocery shopping, make a routine to read the nutrition label. Avoid foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water in place of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re applying your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the right, balanced nutrition your body needs to operate in the best manner and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not meeting 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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