It's Kickboxing Day

Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

Blog category:
Fitness Tips

Having a balanced diet 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 review carbohydrates.

Knowing what you need to can be confusing, particularly as there’s so much contradictory information out there on nutrition.

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

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are our body’s main 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 include 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) goes up based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar increases.

The Farrell's nutrition plan is designed to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and having too much food.
 

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 central fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs decreases the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin burning fat. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but for active people, weakness and energy loss will occur quickly and long-term effects could mean limited performance.

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

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been connected to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that helps us feel happy. Not enough healthy carbs can mean a decline in serotonin levels, possibly producing 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 action. If you don’t have adequate glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is called ketosis. During this process, your body creates ketones for a fuel source. If you’re consuming a balanced diet, this isn’t a problem and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy is when your body has too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals follow a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to confirm you’re still getting plenty of what your body needs to work 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 experienced it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling tired. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a spike in blood sugar because they are quickly broken down versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a lower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike takes place, our bodies release hormones to adjust blood sugar, which creates 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 put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Portion control is essential for decreasing the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are vital for proper function, they need to be portioned for what is needed. Too many sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sweetened soda to your diet every day increases 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 lead to weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to more health concerns like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have an excess 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 review the nutrition label. Avoid foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water instead of sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re using your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already getting the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to work successfully and efficiently to perform 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 have a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!

Sources:

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