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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 review carbohydrates.

Knowing what to eat 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 experience results. And feel the transformation in your body and mind that only nutrient-packed food can provide.

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

The Farrell's nutrition plan is designed to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and overeating.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. Removing or reducing 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 limits the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin using fat. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but for active people, fatigue and energy loss will settle in 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 can cause constipation, so it’s important to ensure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to remain regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been tied 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 decrease 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. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a regular metabolic process. If you don’t have adequate glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is referred to as ketosis. During this process, your body produces ketones for a fuel source. If you’re following a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become problematic is when your body has 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 make certain you’re still getting plenty of what your body has to have 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 an increase 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 takes place, our bodies release hormones to manage blood sugar, which causes the crash. Carbs that are complex and rich in fiber will help block 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 heighten your 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 vital for proper function, they need to be the right size for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweet drink to your diet each day increases 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 additional 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 stores the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When devising meals and grocery shopping, make a routine to read the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and stick to water instead 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 successfully and efficiently to perform 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 experience 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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