Which carbs, when, how much?

Carbs are one of the most argued topic within the fitness community. The basic nutrition approach says that they should make approximately 60% of our daily caloric intake. Some people promote low-carb approach, where carbs shouldn’t exceed 20% of total calories, and nowadays, keto approach is becoming more and more popular. This means — NO carbs at all.

When a regular man place himself among all of these “well packed” theories, he is simply more confused than he was before. It is very hard to find a balance and adopt a healthy nutrition type based on only our needs and goals. I am here to help you find a solution.

In order to determine your daily need for carbs, you must know what types of carbs are available. According to complexity of molecules, carbs can be:

· Monosaccharides — these are the simplest carbohydrates that contain 3–6 carbon atoms. Some examples are glucose, galactose and fructose. Glucose (dextrose) is the simplest form of sugar, and every other, more complex, breaks down in the body to the stage of glucose, because the energy for the body is produced directly from it. Fructose is known as fruit sugar.

· Oligosaccharides — are slightly more complex carbohydrates, formed by coupling of monosaccharide molecules. For example, sucrose (sugar used in daily nutrition: cakes, ice cream, cookies) is made by combining glucose and fructose molecules. Lactose is built from glucose and galactose molecules. This is milk sugar, to which many are intolerant.

Polysaccharides — are the most complex type of carbohydrates. Their molecules consist of hundreds of carbon atoms, and therefore, the body needs more time to degrade it to the stage of glucose in order to be used for energy. Cereals, potatoes and rice are examples of complex carbohydrates.

We get to the main question — do I need carbs, what type and how much? The answer can’t be more obvious — IT DEPENDS! It depends on a lot of things.
 Now I will write a few very important facts about carbohydrates, which will make it easier for you to determine the proper amount for you.
 1. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy in the human’s body. Proteins are used for building tissue, they can be the source of energy only in the stage of starvation. Fats, on the other hand, can be used for energy (that’s how we lose weight, we burn our stored fat), but the process of metabolizing fat is quite slow. The body always turns to the simplest possible solution at the given moment. Only when there is no more blood glucose and no glycogen in the muscles and liver, the usage of fat for energy will occur.
 2. Carbohydrates, more than any other nutrient, affect the secretion of insulin in the body. Insulin serves for glucose uptake from blood into cells where it will be used for energy or deposited in the form of glycogen. If there is no need for energy, and the glycogen deposit in muscles is full, where does this glucose go? In adipose tissue, of course.
 3. Insulin also allows amino acids to enter cells, think about this if your goal is to build muscle.
 4. The less we initiate the secretion of insulin, our body will be more sensitive to it, and it will use it better for good purposes.
 5. If you eat carbohydrates and fats in the same meal (chocolate, pizza, cakes, cookies …), the sugar will be used for energy and what about fats, where do they go? Come on, we’ve learned this already 😊.

Now when you know this, depending on your age, work, level of physical activity, lifestyle, body fat percentage, you can determine if you need carbs, and how much. Here are some examples that will make your choice even easier:

A. The guy in his twenties, actively engaged in endurance sport, trains everyday and he is not obese — has absolutely no reason to avoid carbohydrates that are even necessary in situations where endurance is required. Of course, only healthy carbs are permitted.

B. Boys and girls who are relatively skinny and they want to build their body and strength, also need carbohydrates. Although, not so much as runners or football players.

C. If you are not obese and want to lose weight, you can choose between keto option and low-carb option. It’s up to you to choose what works best for you. Total daily calorie intake is what determines whether you will lose weight.

D. For older obese people, who weren’t physically active for a long time, and decided to workout in order to get in shape and get healthy — there is no reason to eat carbs at all. Proteins and fats will be enough. These people should be aware of the insulin’s property of easily accumulating body fat.

Nowadays there are theories that say that if you completely cut out carbohydrates from your diet, you will have a body from your dreams very soon, without even counting the calories from protein and fat. This is absolutely NOT true. It would be nice that it is, but unfortunately it’s not. There is no shortcut to greater look. You have to eat clean, eat enough, but not too much, for years, if you want really noticeable results. Carbohydrates are a nutrient which if manipulated smartly, can greatly affect our shape. In most cases this DOESN’T mean eliminating them completely from the diet.
 If you still need help, I’m there for all of your questions.