The forest or the trees: the carbohydrate minefield


HiddenCarbs-AnswersWhen you gaze out your window — real or figurative — do you see the forest first, or the trees?

I was asked today: is it possible to eat too much pasta? Yes, it is. The forest, for the purposes of this post, is figurative. The forest is all the fast food places that you see, the convenience food that we eat, all the hidden carbohydrates. 

Take a look at what you are eating for lunch, I bet there are carbs in it. Do you have a desk job? It may be worth trying to have a carb-free meal somewhere in your day; salad, veggie, omelette, for example.

Carbs are for energy, and if we do not expend the energy, we will store it as fat. That, in simple terms, is why lots of fast food makes you more likely to be larger. It is usually high in fat and high GI carbs, meaning that the energy is processed faster than a slow release carb like for example, oats. Unless you are doing a LOT of exercise at the time or shortly after, you will store it as fat. 

What kind of exercise burns fat? 

In general, steady exercise, longer than an hour, slightly out of breath, and DO NOT consume energy drinks during it, because they too contain carbs!! Simple hydration (i.e. water) will suffice. That is, unless you are exercising for longer than around 90 minutes.

You may be surprised to know, but sprinting round the block a few times may not actually help, as high intensity exercise requires a high volume of instant energy. The body cannot produce that from fat stores that easily, therefore it uses the carbs we ate this morning. Not too helpful if you are trying to manage your weight, but could be useful if you are trying to balance exercise and eating plans.

  • You will usually need more carbs when you are exercising. So its ok to raise the intake of those on days when you know you will be exercising for longer.
  • If you have a sedentary job, try and make your lunch carb free and see how you go. 
  • Protein will help make you feel fuller for longer and repair tired muscles. 

Any questions, queries or comments, just ask. 🙂

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