It's Kickboxing Day

Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

Blog category:
Fitness Tips

Making sure your diet is balanced with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats is important, but what happens if we don’t eat enough or too much of these important foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s go over carbohydrates.

Knowing what you should can be confusing, particularly as there’s so much inconsistent information out there on nutrition.

At Farrell’s, we take the speculation out of what to eat, how much and when. When you follow our tested, whole-food nutrition plan, you will see results. And feel the transformation in your body and mind that only nutrient-rich food can deliver.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are our body’s central source for energy. There are simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Common simple carb foods include:

  • Milk (also a protein)
  • Table sugar
  • Fruit

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are foods that contain multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”

Foods rich in complex carbs include:
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Starchy vegetables like corn and peas
  • Pasta
  • Bread

Glycemic Index Explained

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) fluctuates based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar increases.

The Farrell's nutrition plan was created to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, preventing cravings and overeating.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. Eliminating or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve shown below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our main fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs reduces the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin using fat. Doesn’t sound negative, but for active people, weakness and energy loss will occur quickly and long-term effects could mean reduced performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is essential for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet can cause constipation, so it’s important to ensure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to stay regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been tied to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Limited healthy carbs can mean a decrease in serotonin levels, possibly bringing on mood changes like anger, sadness, and even mild symptoms of depression.

4. Hypoglycemia—Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a normal metabolic operation. If you don’t have ample glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is referred to as ketosis. During this process, your body makes ketones for a fuel source. If you’re consuming a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body becomes accustomed to to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy is when your body accrues too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals use a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to assure you’re still getting enough of what your body needs to perform normally.

3 Effects of Too Many Carbs

What could happen to your body if you eat too many unhealthy carbs?

1. Sugar Crash—We’ve all been through it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling sleepy. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a hike in blood sugar because they are quickly digested versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a slower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to manage blood sugar, which causes the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense in fiber will help prevent the carb spike and crash.

2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate result of taking in too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right portion size is essential for decreasing the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are important for proper function, they need to be portioned for what is needed. An overabundance of sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sugary beverage to your diet each day heightens your risk by 15 percent, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in November 2010 in Diabetes Care.

3. Weight Gain—Taking in too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also make you gain weight, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to more health issues like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have too much in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body holds onto the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When preparing meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to read the nutrition label. Don’t buy foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and drink water as a substitute for sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re applying your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already taking in the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to work in the best manner and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not achieving your fitness goals, get in touch with one of our locations or enroll in our next session to experience a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!

Sources:

  1. LiveStrong
  2. Everyday Health
  3. LiveStrong
Back to Blog