Why we need carbs

I am going to talk a bit about carbohydrates today. I am going to do a very basic overview of this for you, so please don’t judge if I sound ‘basic’! What I have found with certain subjects is the more you break it down, the more people understand AND the more they can relate to it.

Firstly, what are carbs?
In very basic terms, they are sugars, fibres and starches.

And what do they do?
When carbs are digested they are broken-down into smaller substances called “glucose”. This is a vital food sub straight for all our body tissues, especially the brain.

Now some are immediately used by the tissues, with the remaining stored in the liver and the muscles as glycogen, and some are stored as adipose (fat) tissue for future energy needs. They also help to maintain our blood glucose levels, which essentially keep us alive!

Why are they important?
They give us energy! They are needed to fuel almost every type of activity. Glucose is literally converted to energy, which is used for bodily functions and movement.

What does this have to do with exercise?
The amount of carbs stored in our body has a direct effect on our exercise performance. A high level of glycogen in our system will allow us to achieve more from our training session.

There is however a cap to the amount that your body can store at any given time. Males and females have a different storage limit, and this limit can also change person to person.

The amount of carbs one person needs is going to be determined by many factors. Such factors include: intensity of training, amount of current muscle mass, age and gender.

So, for an athlete or someone training frequently, you would need to keep them at high levels, and you would also need to replenish them as exercise increases the muscles ability to store more glycogen. Meaning they can store and eat more.

So theoretically someone who goes to the gym can intake double what a sedentary person can.

How much carbohydrates do I need?
Well, like mentioned above this will be different person to person. Nutrition is very individualised. We were not all made from the same mould. This is why having the proper guidance is key to getting to know your body and learning how it functions.

Make it work for you not against you.

– Post by Rachel Maynard

Read more from Rachel on her blog.

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