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The Importance of Carbohydrates

You may have asked yourself this question at some point in your life, or maybe you are asking yourself this right now.  There are hundreds of different opinions out there when it comes to carbohydrate consumption.  You may have heard of a bodybuilding athlete “carb depleting” or “carb cycling”, an endurance athlete “carb loading”, an IIFYM follower slamming donuts or pop tarts post workout or having a “refeed” day where they literally eat crap all day, or people doing a Ketogenic style diet where carbs are extremely low.  So, will carbs make me fat?  My answer; no, however they could.  I know it’s probably not the answer you are looking for!  In order to explain, I will have to get a little scientific on you.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy.   Each gram of carbohydrate you consume contains about 4 calories.  Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, the main one being glucose. Glucose is your body’s primary fuel. It is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen and is used for immediate energy needs. The liver can store up to 100g and the muscles can store up to 400g of glycogen. The remaining will be stored as fat. So, too much of a surplus can make you gain weight.

Carbs are important. They are needed before and after workouts and assist with energy and recovery. Exercise depletes your glycogen stores, so in turn, the carbs you consume after training will then refill those stores.  You will want to make sure to consume the appropriate amount of carbohydrates to support your activity level.  If you eat too many carbs, it creates a surplus. This surplus can cause weight/fat gain.

So, in my professional opinion, carbs alone do not make you fat.  Eating too much of any foods will make you fat.  It is all about portion control and knowing how much food to intake to support your activity levels.  Carbs are your friend 🙂

If you need more assistance figuring out what your body needs, our nutrition coaching can help get you going in the right direction!

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