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Before I start carbohydrates are a very complex subject; I could dedicate this whole blog to carbohydrates quite easily. At the bottom is a link to my previous carbohydrate article to give you more info after you’ve read this one.. 

The general population are fed poor information constantly; the TV dictates what people perceive as healthy and is of benefit to us

We see adverts all the time about the energy that a product can provide but do we actualy need/use it?

These energy products can be drinks or food. I’m just going to look at the food..

Some Science first 

So the body utilises two main fuels for energy; fat and carbohydrate (protein can also be used in extreme cases; muscle is broken down to provide energy).The fuel utilised by the body is largely determined by activity level and intensity.

So if we are at a desk, driving, standing behind a bar, walking at a normal pace, washing the dishes then we are in a low intensity zone. They are not very strenuous and require little energy to be performed. As they do not require much energy then our demand for oxygen is  low; this allows the body to oxidise fat and use it as our main energy source.

As activity levels increase then the demand for oxygen increases and carbohydrate is used as our primary fuel. This carbohydrate comes from the stored carbohydrate within the muscle cell known as glycogen not necessarily the pasta we ate before going to the gym.  

It’s important to note there is not one fuel being used at one time e.g. 100% fat and 0% carb. They are used alongside each other just one will be proving more % than the other. The graph below may not be accurate but it gives you an idea.. 

VO2 max is the amount of oxygen you are using .. 100% being a maximal sprint. 

Image

So lets put this into a everyday life;

1- What does your job require you to do? If you drive to work and then sit at a desk until 5 then you’re energy requirements will be very low and will require low carbohydrate intake for the majority of the day. If you are a labourer then you may want to take some carbohydrates on at lunchtime to replace some of the glycogen used in the morning. 

2- Do you train/play sports/exercise at all? If you are limited in activity then a large intake of carbohydrate is likely to result in unwanted fat gain.. If you do train then I’d recommend taking on your carbohydrates after training not prior to. 

3. If you do want to take on carbohydrates (this part excludes post workout recommendation  then make a sensible choice and make it a low glycemic index choice. The glycemic index of a food demonstrates the likelihood of it raising blood sugar levels; high GI foods/drinks are likely to result in fat gain.. 

High GI foods include white pasta, white bread, white potatoes

Low GI foods include the majority of vegetables, brown rice, basmati rice, brown pasta, brown bread (I don’t recommend pasta or bread though).

So when you see a weetabix, belvita breakfast, porridge advert recommending you buy them for energy; you should consider your lifestyle..

I do not recommend a carb breakfast; the next article is fat based and you may be surprised with what I have to say.. Yesterday (18 June) I consumed 180g of fat and I have never felt so well. 

 

Here is my previous carb article

https://beginnernutrition.com/?s=carbohydrates

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4 thoughts on “Carbohydrates and Energy

  1. Pingback: Fat.. Eat it, you won’t die | Beginner nutrition

  2. Hey Ben,

    My boyfriend actually recommended you to me, and I’ve read quite of bit of your stuff on here. I’m just now getting into a fitness and nutritional routine, and I’m really interested in this carb backloading stuff. And you say here that you recommend low GI carbs, but I’ve also read that when carb backloading you should go for high GI carbs post workout. Obviously our bodies are all quite different but I’m trying to figure out what will work best for me, and I’d like to give carb backloading a shot and see what it does for me. Would you recommend still sticking with low GI carbs though?

    -Amber

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