We see you all asking all your carb questions. You’re concerned that your carb goals are too high. You’re concerned that you’ll gain weight if you eat that many carbs. You’re confused because you’ve been conditioned to believe that carbs are BAD your whole life. Let us help clear a few things up for you.
Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy diet and physical fitness, especially for women. They provide our bodies with the energy needed to perform everyday tasks (especially strenuous strength training tasks!), support growth and repair our tissues, and regulate our blood sugar levels. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of carbohydrates in a woman's diet and physical fitness, and how to make sure you are consuming the right types of carbohydrates for optimal health.
When you think of carbs I bet you think of pasta and pizza and fries. Yet, carbohydrates are found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. They can also be found in processed foods such as bread, pasta, and cereal. So, not all carbs are created equal.
There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, such as those found in fruit and candy, are broken down quickly by the body and provide a quick source of energy. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and legumes, take longer to break down and provide a sustained source of energy throughout the day.
Consuming enough carbohydrates is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy, and when they are not consumed in sufficient amounts, the body will begin to break down stored fat for energy. This can lead to temporary weight loss, yes, but it can also be detrimental to your overall health and your long-term ability to stay in a healthy body weight range.
Carbohydrates also play a role in regulating blood sugar levels. Consuming a diet high in complex carbohydrates, can help keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing the highs and lows associated with consuming too many simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are also important for brain function. The brain is the body's largest consumer of energy, and carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for the brain. Consuming a diet low in carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Carbohydrates also play a role in the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that regulates mood and promotes feelings of well-being. So, yes, eating carbs is good for your mind and body.
Finally, carbohydrates also play a role in maintaining a healthy gut. Carbohydrates, especially those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are a source of dietary fiber. Fiber is critically important for maintaining regular bowel movements and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. If you want a healthy gut, regularity in the bathroom, and reduced bloating…eat the appropriate amount of carbs for your body.
Now, let's talk about the importance of carbohydrates in your physical fitness. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for our muscles during any physical activity. Consuming enough carbohydrates before and after exercise helps to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles, which can help to improve performance and reduce muscle soreness as they also play a role in recovery and repair of muscle tissue after a workout.
For women, consuming enough carbohydrates is especially important. Women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of muscle mass than men. This means that women rely more on carbohydrates as a fuel source during physical activity. Additionally, women often have different nutritional needs than men, and may require a slightly higher percentage of carbohydrates in their diet to support their overall health and physical fitness goals. It's important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal. It's important to choose high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables over processed and refined carbohydrates found in white bread, sugary cereals, and candy. These foods are often low in nutrients and can contribute to weight gain and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Specifically for those of you in the FIT Fam that are trying to lose weight, please hear this. You can only cut your carbs so far. If you start out your health and weight loss journey at a low carb goal for your body, you will eventually be unable to continue cutting carbs to lose weight. This puts your body into a very stressful situation and when you go back to eating “normally” you will gain all that weight right back, and most likely even more. Trust us, fueling your body appropriately is the best thing you can do on your weight loss journey.
Incorporating a variety of carbohydrates into your diet is important for optimal health. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes all provide different types and amounts of carbohydrates, as well as other important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. To ensure you are consuming a balanced diet, aim to hit each of your macronutrient goals, even if you feel like they are too high. We as women have been conditioned to believe that carbs are bad and will make us fat… but as you’ve hopefully learned, carbs are absolutely essential to our well being and hitting our goals.