High Carb, Low Carb, No Carb? How much should YOU be Eating?
A few weeks ago we posted an article about pre and post workout nutrition and how YOUR goals will dictate what would work best for YOU based on YOUR goals. The same is true of carbohydrates. How much you need and what kinds you eat depends on your goals. Let's start with some things you will want to consider.....
This macro nutrient is surrounded in confusion. High-carb, low-carb, no-carb? There really is not an ideal amount that meets the needs of all individuals. I tell all of my clients to think of carbs like you would gas for a car. The more you drive the more gas you need. Carbohydrate intake should really be based on an individual’s level of activity. The more active an individual is, the more they can eat.
The other confusing part for people is figuring out that quality, quantity and timing DO MATTER. A cookie and a banana both might have 25 grams of carbs but how your body utilizes these carbohydrates is VERY different; the quality of the carbs in a banana can help you reach your fitness goals. The cookie, while delicious (side note: my friend Mary Thompson makes the best chocolate chip cookies!) does not help.
The other thing to consider is quantity.
Just because you workout for an hour, does NOT mean you should eat a full spaghetti dinner each night. A small amount goes a long way, and we definitely abuse this category of foods—excess intake can cause weight gain, ESPECIALLY if it is poor quality carbs! Realistically, the majority of the population can meet their carbohydrate needs by fruits and vegetables alone.
Prioritize vegetables and some fruit as your primary carbohydrate choices---remember the 3:1 rule (3 veggies per 1 fruit)
That leaves carb timing.
To keep things simple: start out assuming that your body does a decent job of burning fat. You go to bed at night, and your body burns fat. The downside is you do not burn a ton of calories while you sleep (bummer!). When we wake up, we get a little insulin spike (side note: this is why fasted blood sugars are ideally done in the morning. Depending on how high you spike, fasted is a pretty good indicator of your likelihood of developing diabetes. Side/side note: what’s considered healthy fasted blood sugars varies from state to state! Typically,fasted blood sugars under 80 are ideal and the closer you get to 100 the more likely you are to develop type 2 diabetes).
I regress, so you wake up in the morning burning fat. Once you introduce carbohydrates, your body switches over to burning those. This is fine if you have an intense training session coming up, but if you are eating so you can get in your car and then sit at your desk, do you really need the carbs? You'll also want to consider your goals. If the goal is to reduce body fat you might be better served waiting to eat carbs until AFTER your training session and "back-load" your carbs until later in the day. Talk to a Fuse Fitness Coach to help you decide what would help you hit your goals!
If you look at the graphs above both explain the same thing. One shows how sugar cravings work and the other goes more into detail about how that cycle works. Long story short, if you have spikes in insulin (from too many carbohydrates) your body DOES NOT BURN FAT.
This is why nutrition coaching is so important. There is not one carb amount that meets everyone’s needs. Protein and fat are relatively easy for a nutrition coach to help you calculate. Carb intake (timing and amount) needs to be calculated based on consistent body comp measurements. Here at Fuse Fitness Coaching we LOVE it if our clients body comp at least every other week. We are 100% results driven, and in order to help you get the most out of your training, we need to track results so we can help you determine what variables to change.
Our supplement of the week is MNS C which is a great multi-vitamin, probiotic and fish oil, all in one and when used together helps to promote healthy blood sugar levels to help YOU burn more fat. You can get MNS C here at Fuse Fitness Coaching but if you'd like to save 20% click here.