The latest craze seems to be to villainise carbohydrates. But is there truth to this? At the end of the day, carbohydrate is just a macronutrient that provides your body with energy. So why all the commotion?
We seem to live in an era where fear has encouraged diets to be all or none when it comes to nutrients. There was a time where fat was feared, salt was feared and even protein was feared, causing diets to focus on reducing a particular nutrient to a bare minimum. This then resulting in the loss of good fats, quality salts and protein; all of which are needed for you to function.
The truth to this craze and many others is that our body can only absorb so much at one time. We are programmed to digest and absorb only a certain amount of nutrients at a given time. What happens when we overload our system? Our body does its best to compensate but when there is too much going in, something has to give! Carbohydrates in its natural form – sweet potato, chickpeas, carrots, provide an important role and we can trust that our body knows what to do with it. Processed carbohydrates such as sugar is a different ball game. Carbohydrate is a macronutrient that is converted to sugar (glucose) within the body. It provides quick energy to support muscle, nerve and cognitive function. While carbohydrate is useful, our body needs to be efficient in managing how we use it and the simple fact is our body is not programmed to deal with the number of carbs we’re generally putting into it.
But does that make carbohydrate the enemy? It’s about knowing your internal engine! If we push our limits, we will strain our system comprising our health and increase fat deposits around our body. The misconception is that only fat leads to increased fat deposits. Carbohydrate and protein will be stored if need be. The focus should be on balancing all quality macronutrients.
A general cheat sheet with a balance of macronutrients to ensure optimal functionality, 20-25% (16g) carbohydrates, 30-35% (24g) good-fats and 35-40% (28g) protein.
Assuming main meal is 80g macronutrient totalled.