Nick’s Nutrition Series, Part 3 Macros
Chapter 3: Carbohydrates
Let’s start with energy. The body burns alcohol, protein, carbs, and fat; in that order. Because alcohol cannot be stored it must be used first. But the majority of energy our body uses comes from a mix of carbs and fats. Depends on insulin levels (covered later).
What is a carbohydrate? Think of carbs as fuel. This fuel is derived from 3 sources: starches, sugar, fiber (calorie free). Carbs are found mostly in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and can be classified as simple or complex.
Complex carbs require digestion before energy may be released and used by the body. Thus resulting in steady blood sugar levels. |greens, beans, and whole grains|
Simple carbs are fed directly into the bloodstream, causing a spike in the blood sugar levels. This gives a brief boost of energy, followed by a state of depletion once levels drop (the crash). |sugar-short chain, white flour, and foods containing large amounts of starches|
Keeping blood sugar levels at a reasonable level is important for overall health and will keep the pounds off. The body’s first choice is to store these sugars (carbs) in the liver and muscles. The problem arises when these become full. A couple things can result: sugar is stored as triglycerides either remaining in the bloodstream or get stored as body fat. So let’s decide what carbs to incorporate into your diet. Every carb is given a rating. This rating is related to its effect on how it spikes the blood sugar levels. When blood sugar spikes, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to shuttle this sugar (glucose) from blood to cells. The Glycemic Index is set to a base value of glucose (final form), at 100. Values of other foods are based on their comparison.
Let’s make sense of if all. For example, your average instant oatmeal (plain) has a GI of 55. Meaning when consumed its absorbed in the blood about 45% slower than glucose. This is important because the slower the absorption the smaller the spike. This also means the body relies on more fat for everyday activities, and the easier the body can store energy (glucose) in the muscle cells.
by Nick Redmond