This is going to be apart of a macro mini-series where I will break down each macro in as much depth as I can so that you can learn as much as you can the important role each one plays!
Probably the most demonized macro of the past decade with the huge push of Keto and Anti-Gluten!
But it’s really not that bad!
I mean…donuts are carbs, so carbs are pretty great in my book.
Carbs can get tricky because how much of it can vary SO much from person to person!
For protein you should get 0.7-1.2g/lb of body weight and you’re set.
For fat you should aim for 0.3-0.4g/lb of body weight or 25-35% of your total daily calorie intake.
With Carbs though, you don’t necessarily have a set number that you should be aiming for, it’s entirely dependent on the individual and their training needs/history.
We need to find a balance because too few carbs and we risk health issues, nervous system issues, hormonal issues, performance declines, muscle loss, and lots of cranky moods.
Too many carbs and you can experience bloating, gut distress, insulin resistance, body fat accumulation, increased inflammation, and higher water retention.
What Are Carbs?
any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues and including sugars, starch, and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1) and typically can be broken down to release energy in the animal body.
In english, Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel when performing energy demanding tasks. For that reason, you should not be restricting carbs if you train regularly because you will be depriving your body of it’s main source of energy. This will force your body to use other less efficient sources of fuel to complete the training you are demanding of it which could lead to injury or extreme fatigue.
What Does It Do For You?
Carbs aren’t only your body’s main source of fuel, they also provide all kinds of functions that are necessary for you to live a healthy life
- Enhance Hormonal Output: The most common issue I’ve seen with clientele revolves around the thyroid gland. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 people have a thyroid condition and could be unaware that they’re carrying it! Your body needs carbs so that it can convert your T4 hormones into T3 which are your “storage” and “energy” hormones respectively. It doesn’t stop there, carbs are also essential for the hormones insulin, testosterone, and metabolism as a whole which is primarily driven by the thyroid gland.
- Carbs Boost Muscle Growth: Carbs are protein-sparing nutrients, what that means is that if there is not enough protein present carbs can take over and fill in the role temporarily by preserving muscle tissue without using protein. Your muscles also hold most of the glycogen in your body (the rest of it is stored in your liver) which is what carbohydrates convert to after you digest them. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel and recovery for muscles in your body.
- Carbs reduce stress: maybe you’ve known this because you turn to sweets when you’re stressed out but there’s a reason for that! Carbs spike insulin which blunts cortisol response in the body. It literally stops your body from creating more stress hormone! Which is important for recovery purposes.
- Carbs before bed help you sleep: Carbs help you sleep in two ways. One, being as we mentioned above, reducing stress, and two by triggering serotonin release – a neurotransmitter that’s been proven to enhance mood and improve sleep quality.
- Carbs provide you with important micronutrients: fiber, sodium, calcium, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals are all things that come from carb filled foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains. Pretty important stuff to have.
What Type of Carbs Should I Eat?
There are a lot of different factors that go into this answer, it really depends on your training style, nutrition demands, gut sensitivities, and personal preferences.
You want to keep your carb options to be carb dominant, meaning the nutritional content of the food you’re choosing being made up of mostly if not all carbs – no fat or protein (sorry donuts).
I made a short list of foods that fit that bill. Again, what you decide to eat for your carbs will mostly come down to personal preference. Carbs are fun like that.
|Sprouted StoneGround Bread||Alfalfa Sprout||Apple|
|Bran Cereal||Artichoke||Unsweet. Applesauce|
|Old Fash. Oatmeal||Green Beans||Blackberries|
|White Rice||Bell Peppers||Cantaloupe|
|Whole grain pasta||Brussel Sprouts||Honeydew Melon|
|Cabbage Cauliflower||Kiwi Fruit|
How Much Of It Should I Eat?
Like I mentioned earlier…IT DEPENDS!
I go in depth about your specific carbs need in my ebook The Nutrition Manual – which you can download for free here.
There are protein and fat needs that HAVE to be met, but carbs can be a little more flexible depending on your lifestyle and training demands. So once you establish your protein and fat needs the rest of your calories can come from carbs!!!
However, there are some guidelines to follow on a daily basis:
You should aim for 15g of Fiberous Carbs for every 1000 Calories that you eat, this will ensure that you are properly digesting your food so that you can use your nutrients properly.
You should also aim for about 1-3 servings of fruit per day so that you are getting your micronutrient needs. The more color variety the better.
Outside of that, it’s fair game to fill up the rest of your carb requirements with any kind of carb that you’d like!
Not sure what that should look like for you? Apply here for a free strategy call so that I can help you figure out what the best macro ratios are for you!