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Carbs 101: what are they and how does your body use them – Part 1

Carbohydrates 101 🍩vs🥗

There is a ton of conflicting information out there on carbohydrates, with various opinions, fad diets, and theories piled on top of it all.
Good carb, bad carb, low carb, no carb – it’s A LOT to take in.

Over the next few posts we’ll discover the truth about these little nuggets of pure body fuel together, including what a carbohydrate is, how your body uses them, when to eat carbs, and what the best kinds of carbs are to eat.

What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are organic compounds found in food that break down to the body and brain’s preferred energy source, which is a single unit of sugar: glucose.

Carbs in our food are made up of fiber, starch, and sugar. The quality of a carbohydrate food depends on how much of each of these it contains.

Simple carbohydrates consist of only one or two sugars and include foods like white flour🥐, boxed cereals, and soda. The simpler a carb is, the faster it will be digested and taken into your bloodstream.

Complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes🍠, apples🍎, lentils, (sometimes called “starches”) are fiber-rich, and consist of three or more sugars. The more complex a carb is, the more slowly it is digested and absorbed by the body, leading to steadier energy and greater fat loss.

This is why your best bet is to go for complex carbs that are higher in fiber – not only will they be more filling, but they’ll also keep you satisfied longer, which means they’re a good option whether you’re focused on fat loss or maintenance.

How Does The Body Use Carbs?
When you eat carbs, two things can happen.
The carbs are either:
1️⃣broken down into glucose and used for energy immediately💥, or
2️⃣stored in the muscle tissue💪🏻 and liver as glycogen for energy later⏰.

Your muscle tissue can only store a small amount of glycogen. Keep in mind that exercise builds muscle💪🏻, and the more muscle you build, the greater your glycogen-storing capacity becomes, which is why highly active people have greater carbohydrate needs when they’re training.
But if you max out your body’s capacity for glycogen storage then the extra glucose from the carbs is stored as fat instead.
Consider this – if the gas tank on your car can hold 15 gallons of gas, but you try to put 20 gallons in, the gas is going to spill out everywhere. Not ideal. Similarly, if you fill your body with all the carbs it can possibly handle at one time and then you try to add more, it’s also going to spill over. The excess glucose is converted to fat. That fat either continues to circulate in your blood (this is where we see things like elevated triglycerides) or it is stored in your adipose tissue – aka body fat. And, lucky us, this storage space is UNLIMITED and it is NOT easily accessed. Once it gets stored as body fat your body considers this its emergency fuel reserve and doesn’t give it up without a fight.

The Solution: Eat the right carbs at the right times in appropriate amounts. We need to get active so we can tap into our short term glycogen stores so that when we DO enjoy carbohydrates in the right amounts at the right times, they can replenish our muscle storage sites instead of initiating lipogenesis (fat creation) and being stored as body fat!

Check back for the HOW in Part 2?
If you found this info helpful give me a 👍🏻 in the comments. Tag a friend and keep a look out for info on my next Little Black Dress 8 week Body Transformation Challenge starting April 1st!!!

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