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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Why do I need carbohydrates? -- Ariel Answers

It seems to have become a new diet fad to skip out on the carbohydrates completely but this should be a big no no, especially if you are exercising. Obviously protein is essential for rebuilding muscles but many don’t realise your body firstly needs the carbohydrates to fuel itself effectively and in turn function at maximum capacity and give you the best results from your workout or just daily life. 

Your body is superb at turning any source of food into energy for itself, but certain foods are better for certain functions. If eating a balanced diet your body will choose to take energy firstly from carbohydrates. This is because it’s the easiest food source to convert into glucose, which is the energy source your tissues and cells need.

 If you do not consume enough carbohydrates in relation to your output of energy your body will take energy from its stores such as fat (which is what most people who skip carbs desire) but it also takes energy from protein which results in your body breaking down its own muscle! This is especially true if you are completing intense exercise routines.

Energy part aside your body needs carbohydrates for good intestinal health. The good bacteria in your gut need carbohydrates to function and keep the pH (acidity levels) at the optimum level for good food absorption. If your intestinal balance is off your body will be unable to digest food properly reducing essential nutrient uptakes resulting in malnutrition, this in turn causes a drop in the effectiveness of your immune system and increases the likelihood of illness as your body is less able to fight off infection.

Some studies now suggest that carbohydrates aid serotonin levels also known as the ‘happy hormone’. A study by the archives of internal medicine found those who ate a low carbohydrate diet experienced more depression and anxiousness than those on a higher carbohydrate diet. It has also been suggested that eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can reduce your working and visuospatial memory.  A study by Tufts University found that those who eliminated carbohydrates performed worse on memory tests and visuospatial tests than those who consumed carbohydrates.

This is not to say you should go off and eat a mountain of cheesy pasta or a loaf of white bread. While carbohydrates are needed you should select complex carbohydrates from wholemeal and wholegrain products like brown rice, bulgur wheat and wholemeal bread. These types of carbohydrates take longer to digest giving you a more steady energy release and keep you fuller for longer. Due the longer digestion time they prevent blood sugar spikes which help control insulin levels which have been found to affect how much fat your body stores.

Remember everything in moderation, skipping out one part of your diet completely is never a good idea. If you desire to lose weight unfortunately there is no magic solution. You just have to eat a healthy balanced diet and move around a bit more.

I hope this has helped! 

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