Carbohydrate is our body’s main source of energy, we need carbohydrate and it comes from our food in many different forms. If we don’t get enough carbohydrates into our diet then our energy, performance and body’s ability to function optimally is restricted (so we won’t burn as many calories efficiently throughout the day – this is why ‘low Carb’ doesn’t work for long!) but if we have too many carbohydrates in our diet our body stores them … in the form of fat!
There are 3 different types of carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrate are your starches, for example; Bread, Rice, Pasta, Potatoes. Your simple carbohydrates are your ‘fast absorbing’ sugars like; refined sugar, glucose and fruit. Then we have fibre, believe or not your fruits and vegetables are all examples of carbohydrate too. Fibre is mostly found in vegetables (particularly green Veg) and is used for digestive purposes only, it is never absorbed!
So therefore what you need to watch is your intake of complex and simple Carbs (sugars). Simple Carbs will give you a big sugar high, which if you do not burn off through exercise will store as fat (unless all of your sugar stores in your muscle and liver are empty, but this will only be the case if you have not eaten any carbohydrate for over 48 hours or you have been doing VERY vigorous exercise). Fruit is an exception; fructose is burnt off extremely quickly so fruit makes for an ideal energy boost or snack when you need a sugar fix. Your starches on the other hand are not burnt off quickly… they need to be broken down into simple sugars first before they can be used for energy. Because of this longer breakdown period, consuming a high volume of starch will leave your blood sugar levels elevated for longer, which if your stores do not need to be filled up or you don’t require instance energy will cause the excess sugar to be stored as fat (this is why you should try not to consume too much carbohydrate before bed time!).
So how much carbohydrate is right? Well let’s tackle this from a calorie point of view – but you should note, you should ideally significantly reduce your number of refined Carbs as they are the worst and most easily absorbed and stored!
Here’s what you need to do:
1) Workout your daily calorie intake (you can use any online calculator which takes into consideration your activity levels, height, weight and age).
2) Minus 500Kcals off of your total caloric intake (this is going to set you up for weight loss numbers).
3) Set your macro’s – what I mean by this is work out how many calories you need from each food group using the following percentages*. All these should add up to your total caloric intake! If you know your body is slightly more sensitive to Carbs (you know you put on weight when you eat too much bread and pasta – use the 40% lower limit and adjust other food group percentages accordingly).
Protein – 30% of your total caloric intake
Fats – 20-30% of your total caloric intake
Carbohydrates – 40- 50% of your total daily caloric intake
4) Stick to these calorie requirements for at least 7 days – check your progress, let me know how you get on!
*please be aware these calorie requirements should only be used as a guide and do not intend to treat, help or cure any pre-existing medical conditions. You should always consult your GP or healthcare professional before embarking on a new diet or program. These guidelines are in line with those recommended by N.I.C.E.
I specialise in one to one training and lifestyle coaching for weight loss & diabetes. I am an expert in all aspects of training and nutrition for Individuals who are looking to lose anything between 1-10 stone. I have worked in the fitness industry for 8 years, including work for SKY TV featuring as a trainer on TV series FAT: The Fight Of My Life (2013) in which my contributer Darren lost 10 Stone in 8 months.