Since last weeks chat was all about protein (if you haven't checked out that article, go read it & then come back), that it would only be fair to give the spotlight too carbohydrates & fats too.
Because the goal of this blog is to provide you with a solid base of information so you can take your health & fitness into your own hands. & Before you can fuel your body, you have to know what's in your fuel, right?
Alright. Carbohydrates, aka. carbs. Some people love them & some people are terrified of them because of what they read in an article or what some celebratory trainer said. *Cue eye roll*
Let's clear one thing up first- Carbs don't make you "fat". Being in a caloric surplus lead's to weight gain. (Aka. Eating like an asshole & not exercising; in most cases. Yes, this isn't a PG blog. If you don't like it then you can leave.)
Carbohydrates are made up of little molecules of oxygen, hydrogen & carbon. They combine to form chains that can range in length, which is how we get simple to more complex sugars. Simple sugars are water-soluble & easy for your body to digest. Therefore they move through your intestinal walls & into the bloodstream easily. More complex carbohydrates are long chains of single sugar units such as starch, glycogen & cellulose. They are typically combined with fiber & vitamins and require your booed to spend a longer period of time digesting them. nI don't want to get too deep into the science of it right now, but know thats the base formation & classification of carbs.
Carbohydrates are used by the body as fuel for your central nervous system, brain & working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source, therefore your body can use the protein to rebuild & repair broken down muscle tissue.
Like I mentioned above, carbohydrates are classified into two broad categories- simple & complex.
Simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugar chains. Examples of single sugars would be fructose, found in fruits, & galactose, found in milk. Examples of double sugars would be sucrose, aka. table sugar & lactose, found in dairy. Simple carbs are also found in most candy & soda products, but those sugars are processed and hardier for our body to recognize compared to fruit sugars. Simple carbs are typically easier & faster for your body to digest, which gives your blood sugar levels a quick spike. This can be beneficial if your blood sugar drops, you need a quick source of energy before a workout or mid workout. They also are incredibly beneficial after a workout to replenish your glycogen stores so that your post-workout protein can be used to rebuild broken down muscle tissues. Simple carbohydrates can contain vitamins and minerals if they are from fruits. If you're needing a quick boost of energy, then simple carbohydrates are the way to go.
Complex carbohydrates are polysaccharides & are classified as having 3 or more sugar units. It takes your body a longer period of time to break them down, which allows for a slower release of energy & not as high of a blood sugar spike like in simple carbs. They are typically also paired with fiber & more micronutrients, which can also slow down the rate of digestion. Complex carbs are legumes, grains, potatoes, vegetables, quinoa, brown rice & oatmeal. If you're planning meals throughout the day, I would lean towards complex sources versus simple to keep your blood sugar spikes lower & allow for a more gradual release of energy into the body.
Again, there is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" carbohydrate, both kinds are incredibly beneficial for your body & they will not make you "fat". They simply serve different purposes inside of your diet.