It's Lower Body Day

Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

Blog category:
Fitness Tips

Eating a balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats is important, but what happens if we don’t eat enough or too much of these important foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s review carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are our body’s central source for energy. There are simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose. Common simple carb foods include milk (also a protein), table sugar, and fruit.

Complex carbs are foods that have multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.” Foods dense in complex carbs include legumes, grains, starchy vegetables like corn/peas, pasta, and bread.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) increases based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar goes up. The Farrell's nutrition plan was created to provide members with a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, avoiding cravings and having too much food.

Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an vital macronutrient. Removing or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve summarized below.

Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our main fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs reduces the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin burning fat. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but for active individuals, fatigue and energy loss will happen quickly and long-term effects could mean limited performance.

Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is necessary for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet may cause constipation, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to be regular.

Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been linked to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Limited healthy carbs can mean a decline in serotonin levels, possibly producing mood changes like anger, sadness, and even mild symptoms of depression.

Hypoglycemia—Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Warning signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

Ketosis—Ketosis is a regular metabolic process. If you don’t have ample glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is called ketosis. During this process, your body produces ketones for a fuel source. If you’re eating a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body becomes accustomed to to your levels. Where ketosis can become problematic is when your body accrues too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals follow a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to make certain you’re still getting plenty of what your body needs to work normally. Learn more about ketosis here.

Too Many Carbs

What could happen to your body if you eat too many unhealthy carbs?

Sugar Crash—We’ve all experienced it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling tired. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a hike in blood sugar because they are quickly digested versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a slower pace, releasing energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to manage blood sugar, which creates the crash. Carbs that are complex and rich in fiber will help prevent the carb spike and crash.

Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate result of taking in too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for lowering the risk of having type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are necessary for proper performance, they need to be portioned for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweet beverage to your diet every day ups your risk by 15 percent, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in November 2010 in Diabetes Care.

Weight Gain—Eating too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also lead to weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of additional problems like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have too much in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body stores the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When preparing meals and grocery shopping, make a routine to take a look at the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and stick to water in place of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re using your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the proper, balanced nutrition your body needs to work in the best manner and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not achieving your fitness goals, get in touch with one of our locations or sign up for our next session to undergo a real fitness transformation! We also offer free trial classes!

Sources:

  1. LiveStrong
  2. Everyday Health
  3. LiveStrong
Back to Blog