…continued – Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a very misunderstood nutrient and because of this there are many misguided diet plans and suggestions floating around, lately however, even mainstream diets are starting to realize carbohydrates contribution to weight maintenance and body composition.

Carbohydrates are a fancy name for sugar. This may be a bit confusing, but the end result of a baked potato and a spoon of sugar are the same – glucose. In other words, a baked potato and a spoon of sugar, when both are processed in the body, the final result is the same – they both turn into glucose.

Carbohydrates, once converted to glucose, are used to fuel muscle energy and brain function

Carbohydrates come in essentially two forms – simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are things like fruit, honey, and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are things like potatoes, pasta, vegetables such as corn (carbohydrate powders are derived from corn), rice, and grains.

The main difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is the time it takes for the body to convert them into glucose. This is important and is the reason complex carbohydrates are favored over simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates tend to give a more gradual and sustained energy release. Simple carbohydrates give a sharp energy increase usually accompanied by a sharp decline in energy as well.

One thing to realize is that once the carbohydrates you have eaten have been converted to glucose, what is not used to fuel body functions and replenish muscle glycogen is shuttled into fat stores. This is the nemesis of overeating carbohydrates. Unused carbohydrates will make you fat.

Carbohydrate consumption should be viewed as an energy source to provide glycogen to fuel muscle activity. Your primary goal with carbohydrates is to provide enough for this task each day and no more.

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