A few weeks ago I had a great call with the RJ Kettlebell Club (it’s my advanced online kettlebell group).
We talked about carbohydrates, which seems to always be a topic of confusion because of the overabundance of information online.
My goal was to provide insight as to what happens in the body when we eat carbohydrates. This way we can make healthier decisions about the type and amount of carbohydrates we eat.
I’d like to share this info with you because it was well received and I want you to understand what happens when we eat carbohydrates.
- All carbs are broken down into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream
- Glucose first goes to the liver for energy transfer and storage
- Remaining glucose is taken up into our cells
Digestion continued (this is where things get interesting):
- The liver can store about 80-100 grams of glucose
- The muscles can store between 300-600 grams of glucose for energy depending on the amount of muscle mass, so more muscle = better carbohydrate tolerance
- Remaining glucose is transformed into body fat
Glycemic Index (GI) – a measure of how quickly & significantly a given food can raise blood sugar
- High GI foods such as sugar, candy, breakfast cereal, bagels, white potatoes, white rice, pasta, etc. raise blood sugar levels rapidly
- Low GI foods such as legumes, nuts, unprocessed high fiber grains, fruit and veggies don’t cause the same spikes in blood sugar levels
- Low GI foods are recommended to improve health, body composition and athletic performance
- Low GI foods enhance satiety – state of being satisfactorily full
- The GI of a food becomes meaningless when combined with other foods
- Example – when a white potato is consumed as part of a mixed meal meal of legumes, veggies and lean protein, the overall GI of the meal might be quite low
Effects of Exercise:
- After exercise, the body is very efficient at dealing with carbs entering the bloodstream
- Muscle contraction pulls glucose into the muscle cells for fuel, which helps refuel your body and prepare for your next workout
- One of the few times that eating foods high on the GI scale is beneficial is for physically active people during/after exercise.
- Eating bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. after your workout
- The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has suggested a minimum intake of 130g of carbs/day to meet basic energy needs and supply the brain with enough glucose
- However, some experts suggest the body can do well with a minimum of 50g of carbs/day (Keto diet)
- Carbs are important and required for optimal functioning
- Best carbs are – fruit, veggies and anything with a good amount of fiber
- These carbs tend to be highest in vitamins and minerals and better control daily food intake
- However, after intense exercise, high GI carbs can be consumed to help replenish fuel stores
Hope this info helps you make healthier food choices.
P.S. The early bird discounts for my 90-Day Kettlebell Program end tomorrow! Don’t miss out on these savings. Click here to schedule a free call with me if you’re ready to make changes to your health and you know you need help.