Let's get to know carbs in a little more detail...
Carbs are not 'Good' or 'Bad' in any way, but rather 'Fast' and 'Slow' digesting to put it simply.
We can use them to our advantage in many ways, and in this blog I'm going to show you how...
Fast and slow digesting carbs can have a tremendous effect on your energy levels for the day. There are pros and cons to both slow digesting carbs, and sugary carbs, and ‘one is good, and "one is bad’ is simply not the case.
All carbs can be placed along a spectrum in order of how quickly they reach the bloodstream in the form of sugar.
They all end up as sugar at some point, but how quickly this happens makes a big difference for many reasons.
The scale that they are place on is called ‘GI’ or ‘Glycaemic Index’, again just a fancy term for ‘High GI = Sugary or fast digesting carbs’ and ‘Low GI = Slow digesting carbs’.
They are all also rated along the scale out of 100:
LOW GI Foods = 55 or less
MEDIUM GI Foods = 56-69
HIGH GI Foods = 70 or more
The vast majority of your carbohydrate intake should be coming from LOW and MEDIUM GI carbs, with a small amount, if any, from high GI.
Let me explain why…
LOW and MEDIUM GI FOODS
EXAMPLES: Kidney Beans, Lentils, Seeds, Most Veg, Nuts, some Fruits e.g. Peaches & Mangos , Grape juice, Banana, Sweet Potato, Brown pasta/rice
PROS: Slow digesting, will release energy over a longer period of time. Focusing on these as the primary source of carbs over the week will help to stabilise blood sugar levels, avoid peaks and troughs in blood sugar (and therefore energy!), and more often than not keep you feeling fuller for longer!
CONS: You have to wait for your energy, it’s not fast acting. If you’re thinking of nipping out to a gym session within the next hour and you need a top up in energy before you go? These are potentially not the best sources of carbs for you.
HIGH GI FOODS
EXAMPLES: Glucose, White Bread, Potato, Corn Flakes, White rice, Maltose, Corn syrup
PROS: If you need energy, fast, this is more likely to be your go-to. If you have exercise sessions back to back, using a combo of High GI food, Low GI later, and protein, your muscle glycogen stores can recover 90%+ for subsequent sessions. Winner!
If you are completing a long session or endurance session (usually 60mins+) Using lower GI foods may cause digestive discomfort due to ‘Vascular Shunt Mechanism’ (Basically when you exercise blood gets moved to the working muscles, and away from other areas like the digestive system…), so easy digesting carb sources are essential in this scenario.
CONS: Sugar peaks during the day can cause horrible grogginess, you get the sugar high, your insulin levels spike, and then you get a crash-type feeling. Guess what you crave now?? That’s right… More sugar!) We need to avoid this for many reasons as much as possible.
Am I saying that you should never have that slice of millionaires shortbread whilst out for a coffee with your mum? Absolutely not! But we need to avoid doing this regularly.
UNDERSTAND Carbs- they are NOT ‘Good Vs Bad’, WORK WITH your carbs! When you treat them with respect… They will do GREAT things for you!!