The BIG food debate of the last, well long time has been, are carbohydrates good or bad? Should we dump the rice, pasta, cereal and potatoes and eat tuna, chicken and tofu instead? Are carbs the bad guys that have made us the fattest we have
ever been in history? If you want a flat tummy and firm butt, does that mean a lifetime eating plan devoid of a great spaghetti bolognaise?
It’s not just the biggest food debate, but also the most controversial. And why does the topic of carbs versus protein create such emotion and passion from the folks who believe their view is the right one? With the exciting risk of creating more passionate discussion, lets have a look at the simple common sense and the “facts” (as the science has presented them) so you can decide for yourself (if you are undecided) about whether or not an Italian eating style (Pasta) or an Asian eating style (Rice), will make us fat or sick?
Here we go…
Epidemiological studies (Scientific studies of large population groups) show that both the Mediterranean and Asian populations, who eat traditionally, are the healthiest populations in the world.
The human body needs all 3 macronutrients to function (yes alcohol is a macronutrient but believe it or not, we can function without it). We need carbohydrates for brain and muscle function, protein for growth, rebuilding and repair and fat for energy, warmth, internal organ support and hair and skin that is healthy.
There are 2 types of Carbohydrates:
1. Processed, high in calories with little nutritional value.
2. Unprocessed: predominately low in calories and high in nutritional value. How can you tell the difference? Take a look!! If a food still looks like it came out of the ground-fruit, veggies (yes even potatoes), chunky, brown and stone-ground bread, brown rice etc, it is unprocessed. In a can, tin, box, bag, bottle or white in colour (sugar, white flour, polished white rice) and it has most likely been through a fair whack of processing!
If you want to maintain a great physique; High levels of muscle for protection, strength and a fast metabolism. Lower levels of body-fat for health and a tight body (fat is soft and hides your muscles); the number of calories you eat does make a difference. If you eat 3000 calories and only burn up or use 2000 calories, the 1000 extra calories, regardless of which macronutrients they came from, will end up in fat storage on your body. Yes, our storage tanks for fat are situated all over however the larger number of storage sheds seems to be around our tummies, hips, thighs.
Carbohydrate and protein have the same number of calories per gram approximately 4.5; fat has 9 calories per gram. FACT: you would need to eat twice the amount of carbohydrate or protein for the same number of calories from fat.
Your brain can only function on one substance-Blood Sugar/Glucose- in the simple form of Glycogen which is a CARBOHYDRATE. NO brain function, no life. Quick Note: what is the substance given in a hospital drip to keep a person alive? It’s Glucose! (Carbohydrate)
Without carbohydrates in your system your body CANNOT burn fat. Carbohydrates are the initial energy source burnt which then allows your body to tap into its fat stores. (Think the wick in a candle: no candle, no ability to melt the wax)
When you sprint/ exercise at a high level/ push your body hard for 2-3 minutes- the only macronutrient your body uses is stored phosphates and glycogen (carbohydrate). Sprinting and hard training makes you fitter and stronger.
AND EXCITING NEWS…Fit people burn fat faster (even at rest!!) and more muscle/bigger muscles means a much faster metabolism (your body’s
measurement for the number of calories you burn throughout a day)
Butter, oil, margarine is already fat so your body requires no energy to take fat from your bloodstream and pop it into your fat cells. (When fat is sucked out of your fat cells-liposuction, it is yellow, lumpy and large. Quick note: A kilogram of muscle is half the size of a kilogram of fat!! Now imagine the energy (and ingenuity) it takes for your body to turn carbohydrate-an apple, potato or even a bowl of Coco Pops into the yellow lumpy stuff that is fat. Your body can convert carbohydrate into fat but it is a very long, hard process that requires a massive amount of energy (calories) to make it happen. And the research is strong to show that carb to fat conversion (De Novo-lipogenisis) only happens in severe cases of overeating.
So why has Carbohydrate, not fat, been given such a bad reputation and why do people who eat very little carbohydrate lose weight?
If you are a non-exercising individual, or LSD (long slow distance) exerciser, you do not burn calories very fast-of any kind, but definitely very few carbohydrate calories. The largest number of carbohydrate calories is burnt when you exercise hard. Your body stores around 2000 calories of carbohydrate-in your brain, muscles and liver so as a non exerciser or LSD’er, when you eat large amounts of processed carbohydrate-high in calories, you will not use them. Remember, 3000 calories in, 2000 calories burnt and your body has nothing to do with the extra 1000 but to store them. For a non-exerciser, LSD’er, who need very little carbohydrate, when they eat less they are simply eating less calories overall. Less calories in, more calories burnt off, from any source, will mean weight loss. Take bread, pasta, rice, cereal and potatoes (deep-fried), but more importantly, cake, biscuits, pastries and lollies out of any diet and you will have a massive reduction in calorie intake!
So the MILLION dollar question…What to do if you want to lose weight, burn fat fast and have a lean, tight, toned, strong, fit body???
Here are the Simple Solutions…
· Train, lift, run, walk, cycle, swim GO HARD for short bursts!
· Get strong-really strong! You will have a faster metabolism and the only energy source you burn when you lift weights will be CARBOHYDRATES
· Get fit, really fit, and you will burn fat faster-at rest.
· Fitness comes from pushing you body as hard as you can, for as long as you can and guess what? Hard and long is not possible.
· Sprint then walk, Cycle flat out until you are puffed then cycle slowly until you get your breath back-then go hard again. Warm-up, push hard, puff, then slow down until you get your breathe back then go again.
· You will get fit very quickly, your workouts will be more fun, more interesting and more rewarding because you will see results very quickly
· You will burn a stack of carbohydrates while you are exercising and your calorie/fat burning speed will speed up dramatically at rest and logically, when do we want to be burning fat fast? For the 20-30 mins we are exercising or the 23.5 hours we are not
· Which athletes have a leaner, tighter more toned physique-sprinters or walkers? And who eats mostly carbohydrates?
So if you want to eat (and enjoy) your pasta…Exercise FASTA!!