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Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

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Fitness Tips

Having 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 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 speculation out of what to eat, how much and when. When you follow our tried and true, whole-food nutrition plan, you will see results. And feel the transformation in your body and mind that only nutrient-rich food can give.

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 have multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”

Foods high 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 increases.

The Farrell's nutrition plan was made to provide members with a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, preventing cravings and overeating.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

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

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our primary 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 utilizing fat. Doesn’t sound negative, but for active individuals, exhaustion and energy loss will happen quickly and long-term effects could mean decreased performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is important 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 stay 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 decrease 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 normal metabolic process. If you don’t have adequate 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 eating a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become dangerous is when your body builds up 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 an ample amount of what your body requires 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 broken down versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a lower pace, letting out energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to adjust blood sugar, which prompts the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense 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 put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for lowering the risk of ending up with 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 beverage to your diet every day 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—Taking in 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 more health problems 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 keeps the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When preparing meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to take a look at 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 following your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to perform effectively and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not reaching your fitness goals, get in touch with one of our locations or sign up for 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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