Often everyone talks about the importance of protein when it comes to weight loss or exercising and recovery, and there is no doubt about its significant role in muscle building & recovery. However, the misuse and management of carbohydrates is often completely overlooked, despite their very important value in energy and stamina.
What are Carbs?
Carbohydrates are essentially sugars. They are molecules which contain oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. They are synthesized by plants and consumed by humans for energy. When you consume them in food form, they are stored in the muscles of the body in what is called glycogen. Water is stored with them; hence the importance of proper hydration is needed. Remember its carbo-HYDRATE…
Carbs are primarily very useful for helping your body to protect the protein you consume in foods. This protein best serves your body when used for muscle recovery and repair. If you have glycogen present in your muscle fibers as energy, the protein will be spared so that it can be used for effective muscle building purposes, instead of being burned for energy.
Choosing the right kinds of carbohydrates is similar to choosing the kind of fuel for your vehicle. Imagine the following;
- First one being a fuel that is half water,
- Second being the standard Unleaded, and
- Third is what is used in the aircraft as fuel for your car.
Obviously, you’d prefer to use the aircraft fuel, so that your car can perform at its most effective and efficient rate.
Carbs are like that as well. They are classified using a metric known as the Glycemic Index, or the GI. Higher the amounts of sugar that are burned very rapidly by the body have a high GI number: This is not ideal and will not make you healthy. Think about Red Bull, or an aerated drink or anything containing processed sugar. You feel a quick burst of energy when you eat them, then a crash, right? This isn’t conducive for general health purposes. Try to consume foods with a low GI, as they are burned much more slowly over the course of a day. Foods with the lower GI index, such as starches, should be used for the bulk of your meals as you plan them ahead.
Let’s take a look at the three main types of carbohydrates and examine why they are so important for us.
Monosaccharaides: These are the sugary carbohydrates, including fruit, milk & blood sugars.
Oligosaccharides: Milk and table sugars fall into this category.
Polysaccharides: The slower burning starch, cellulose and glycogen sugars fall into this category.
What you need to do:
You can maximize your chances for carb by planning and pairing (with protein) your meals ahead of time. Attempt to stock 3 days ahead be it your pasta, beans, rice and vegetables also stock them along with the right kinds of protein sources. You will be able to give your body the right kinds of carbohydrate servings without fail.
Note: Most fast foods and instant foods that pretend to be healthy carbs has all sorts of chemicals, toxins and of course, fats, that will slow down your progress and potentially will damage your health. Plan your meals ahead of time using the right kinds of carbs, and you’ll find success!