Carbohydrates – Friend or Foe?

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

Carbohydrates, or just simply carb's, are the body’s preferred fuel source and are essential when it comes to exercise and training. Roughly, 75% of the energy that is utilised from carbohydrates is ultimately used by the body to sustain brain function. Carbohydrate rich foods also provide fuel for muscle contraction, red blood cell production which is essential to transport oxygen, enables fat metabolism and prevent protein from being used as energy.

Consuming lower amounts of carbohydrates in your meals means you will fatigue quicker and unable to sustain exercises for vigorous or sustained amounts of time. Focusing on nutrient dense or complex carbohydrates is vital for optimum performance and sustainable weight loss. Carbohydrate foods and fluids that are rich in sources of other macro and micro-nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, grains, starchy vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products, should be consumed in higher amounts. Nutrient poor or simple carbohydrates, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, lollies and sweets, sports drinks and cordial and foods and fluids that contain refined sugars that may provide kilo-joules, but may lack the vitamins, minerals and fibre, and could potential leave you hungry for more. High fat carbohydrates, such as pastries, cakes, banana bread, chips (fried and packet) and chocolate may contain refined starches that could potentially raise blood sugar levels causing an insulin spike and detrimental to weight loss and vital organs.

When carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive system, they produce the main source of fuel: glucose. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and are converted into glucose over a longer period of time. Carbohydrates are an important macro-nutrient in nutrition, but your main sources of carbohydrates should come from vegetables. There may be some healthier alternatives to certain simple carbohydrates, but it still important to consume them in moderation.

Carbohydrates, from a macro-nutrient perspective, equals 16 kilo-joules, or 4 calories, per gram.

Want to make healthier choices in your everyday nutrition? Contact Discipline Fitness today!

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