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Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

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Fitness Tips

Eating 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 vital 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 inconsistent information out there on nutrition.

At Farrell’s, we take the speculation out of what to eat, how much and when. When you follow our proven, whole-food nutrition plan, you will have 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 primary 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 contain multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”

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

The Farrell's nutrition plan was made to give members 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. Cutting out or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve outlined 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 utilizing fat. Doesn’t sound bad, but for people who are active, weakness and energy loss will settle in quickly and long-term effects could mean limited performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is necessary for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet could cause constipation, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to remain regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been connected to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that helps us feel happy. Not enough healthy carbs can mean a decline in serotonin levels, possibly causing 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. Symptoms 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 called 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 accrues too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals use 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 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 exhausted. 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 lower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike occurs, our bodies release hormones to regulate blood sugar, which prompts the crash. Carbs that are complex and high in fiber will help prevent 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 increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for lowering the risk of having type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are important for proper function, they need to be portioned for what is needed. Too many 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 make you gain weight, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to more health issues 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 holds onto the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When preparing meals and grocery shopping, make a practice to review the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water instead of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re using your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to perform 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, reach out to one of our locations or join our next session to have 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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