“Eat Low carb”, “no Carb”,” Keep off carbs” and “no carbs after 6pm”. Things you may have heard many times or tried for some time by yourself. But what actually are carbohydrates? Where do they occur? Why are carbohydrates very important and when should you eat them. I would like to explain to you briefly below…
What are carbohydrates?
Our food can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients, with carbohydrates (carbs) being one of the three macronutrients.
It is important for you to know that carbs are not essential, that means, your body is able to produce them by itself. Proteins can be metabolized into carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are composed of sugar molecules. Which does not mean that they all are sweet, rather the contrary. They make up the largest part of your nutrition and you can differentiate them according to the number of their sugar building blocks into three groups:
- Simple sugars or monosaccharide:
- Glucose (corn sugar) – in fruits, vegetables
- Fructose (fruit sugar) - in fruits, vegetables, honey
- Galactose (milk sugar) - in milk
- Two-fold sugars or disaccharide:
- Sucrose (household,- cane-, beet sugar) – consist of fructose and glucose
- Lactose (milk sugar) - consist of galactose and glucose
- Maltose (malt sugar) - consist of glucose and glucose
Simple and double sugars are mainly found in sweets, refined sugar and industrially processed starch. Except fruit, they are mostly just energy suppliers, causing your blood sugar levels to rise quickly.
- Multi-fold sugar or polysaccharide: Linkages of multiple glucose-fructose-chains are called complex carbohydrates
- Oligofructose (e.g. inulin)
- Starch – in whole grains, cereals, potatoes and legumes
They will slowly increase your blood sugar levels after eating, since they first need to be broken down by the body.
What contains carbohydrates?
As you just read, carbs many foods contain carbs in form of pure sugar such as fruit, cereals, potatoes and so on. So it's really difficult to avoid carbohydrates. But you don't have to, because ...
Why are carbohydrates important for you?
Carbohydrates are the fuel for your muscles and your brain. They provide you with important energy for your basic metabolic rate and, of course, for your additional activities, such as sport. The higher the proportion of carbohydrates in a meal, the faster the blood sugar level rises. This increase leads to increased insulin release. Insulin is a building (anabolic) hormone. Due to the insulin release, carbohydrates and proteins are transported in large quantities into your body cells, which support the growth of your muscles very effectively.
By the way, one gram of carbohydrates has 4 kilocalories. They are therefore good energy suppliers if you eat the right carbohydrates. As a rule, you should rather eat complex carbohydrates, meaning whole grains, potatoes, rice and vegetables and so on ... because they are metabolized slowlier by your body and keep you full for longer time periods.
When should you eat carbohydrates?
Your body uses energy around the clock, even when you sleep! Most of your daily energy is consumed to stay alive, which is the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and includes body functions such as breathing, heart contraction, cell metabolism, temperature regulation.The energy for your physical activities thoughout the day is added to your BMR.
You should consider when exactly your body needs energy and eat more carbohydrates when you tend to move more. Depending on you training goal and your individual situation there are times when you can have more carbohydrates without risking to gain fat. Generally speaking in the morning, as well as before and after your workout would be possible time slots for fast burning energy.
After a long night your body needs energy to get set up for the day. Oatmeal, whole grains, and fruit juices are now a good choice to start the day. Before a workout, your carbohydrate storage (called also glycogen storage) should be filled if your goal is performance in the gym. Have some complex energy sources such as oatmeal, rice, whole wheat bread or similar foods.
After your workout, your energy storage is decreased and we can use this time window to eat without gaining fat. Refueling is most efficiently done with fast carbohydrates, so mono- and disaccharide. By consuming carbohydrate after your training the muscle-protein-synthesis is accelerated and recovery can start earlier. This is important for the formation of lean muscle mass.
As youcan see, carbohydrates are not all equal and your body needs them as energy supply and for an optimal muscle growth. As with all things in life applies also here: the dosage makes the poison. Having carbs at the right time, in the correct amount and consume them with the right food, they can be helpful in achieving your fitness goal.
You have to keep in mind that all people are set up differently with higher or lower carb burning efficiency. That means some people tend to gain fat very fast by just eating a small amount of carbs per day whereas others basically live on carbohydrates and don't gain fat. A professional nutrition consultation will be helpful to find out which type you are and help to find a long term solution for you.
Make an appointment with one of our personal trainers now and learn what this means for you and how you can optimize your diet to achieve your goals. Contact us via email cc[at]constantincolberg.com, wechat: kangtingberlin or phone: +86 13683580963