When you eat, every single thing that goes into your mouth is a source of energy for the body, and once your body has used everything it needs to service your energy needs, surplus is stored as fat...
Let’s delve a little deeper
All foods can be broken down into one or a combination of the following three macronutrients:
Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat - these all provide energy to the body in the form of calories.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy your body will seek. When your body breaks down carbohydrates it does so into smaller sugars called glucose (from complex carbs), fructose (from processed sugars and fruit) and galactose (from dairy), these then get used as energy in the body.
Carbohydrates and FAT
Any surplus sugars that aren’t used as energy are then stored as glycogen and when your glycogen stores are replenished (these are in muscles, the liver and a small amount in your blood) and there is still a surplus, this is stored as fat (within the fat cells or droplets)
So from the above you can see, carbs aren’t the enemy, it is an excess and surplus of carbs that are the enemy for those who wish to maintain or lose weight. If you eat more carbs than your body requires for energy then you will gain fat.
Where are Carbs found?
There are two type of carbohydrates, complex and simple. Complex carbs are starches and are found in foods like grains, pasta, potatoes and rice. These take longer to break down in the body and therefore provide a slow release of energy. Simple carbs are found in food like fruits and vegetables and are found in highly processed foods like table sugar, sweets, syrups and soft drinks. They provide an instant form of energy for the body to use and are more likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
What happens to your body when you cut carbs?
Well the most apparent change will be how much energy you have, you will feel absolutely exhausted. This is because the first thing that will happen is your glycogen stores (that we mentioned before) will be totally empty, your reserves of energy are gone! During exercise you’ll hit a wall, feel nauseous and your body may feel shaky.
When you don’t eat carbs your body will start to break down protein, the primary building block of the body, so when you use protein for energy you are reducing the amount of protein available for rebuild and repair within the body.
And since we are talking about proteins we may as well mention that Fat can also be used as a source of energy, it takes the longest to break down and with the absence of carbohydrates the body will need to break down protein in order to create energy to break down fat to be used as energy…that was a bit of a mouthful wasn’t it!
There is no need to cut carbs from your diet unless
Cutting a long story short but there really is no need to cut carbs from your diet unless you are competing, or have a health condition (other than being overweight) that requires you to cut carbs.
Don’t be afraid
Understanding how carbs are used in the body may open your eyes as to how best eat them for your energy expenditure.
Post exercise a perfect combination would be to eat Carbohydrates and Protein to both replenish your energy stores so your body can deliver the proteins around the body to aid with recovery and rebuild.
Now off you pop and enjoy your carbs, but not too many especially if you are not being as active, because remember that your body does indeed use carbs for energy, and what it doesn't use it stores. As fat.
Co- Founder, Pepper Hustle