Demystifying Macronutrients: Carbohydrates

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Carbs have a bad reputation, but they aren’t all bad. In fact, there are many carbs that are good for you, and for your energy levels. Do you know which?

You’re probably familiar with macronutrients, even if you don’t recognise the term. Macronutrients are simply the substances that we need in large quantities in order to properly function, grow and metabolise, as part of a balanced diet. Of course, the body works best when supplied with a combination of the right fuel and plenty of exercise at your local gym.

Macronutrients can be broken into three different types – proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is undoubtedly carbohydrates, or carbs, that most people tend to focus on when looking to make their lifestyle healthier. There is certainly a benefit to cutting out certain carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean that the whole bunch is bad. In fact, your body needs them to survive, so read on to learn more about the different types and which ones to avoid.

Simple carbs are processed, while complex carbs are often ‘wholegrain’.

Carbohydrate is actually a very broad term – all that it really refers to is nutrients which contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, which is why people who try to cut them out completely tend to end up feeling very lethargic. In fact, according to the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intakes, roughly 45 to 65 per cent of the body’s calories should come from carbs.

The trouble with this data is that not all carbs are created equal. There are three types – sugars, starches and fibre – and knowing the difference between these will help you to improve your diet and make sure you’ve got a healthy, balanced food intake.

Sugars are most commonly found in processed foods and are often referred to as ‘simple’ carbs. While they do provide energy, it will be a short burst, often called a ‘sugar rush’, which should be avoided for optimum functionality throughout the day and especially at the gym.

The ‘complex’ carbs of starches and fibre provide a wealth of benefits that the body needs.

Starches and fibre

While sugars are best left limited to the naturally occurring varieties in fruit and milk, the ‘complex’ carbs of starches and fibre provide a wealth of benefits that the body needs. Starches supply a slow release of energy that keeps you going throughout the day, while also making you feel fuller, so that you consume fewer calories. Fibres also make you feel full, but they are not absorbed by the body at all and provide no energy. Instead, they travel through your digestive system in order to facilitate healthy bowel function.

Through an appropriate combination of the right carbs, you’ll be able to supply your body with exactly the right type of fuel that it needs to perform at its peak. If you have any questions about your diet and fitness, contact us at One55 today.

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