Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose.
- Milk (also a protein)
- Table sugar
Complex carbs are foods that have multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”
Foods rich in complex carbs include:
- Starchy vegetables like corn and peas
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 rises.
The Farrell's nutrition plan was created to give members a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, preventing cravings and having too much food.
5 Effects of Too Little Carbs
Carbs are an important macronutrient. Cutting out or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve summarized below.
1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our primary 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 individuals, exhaustion and energy loss will happen quickly and long-term effects could mean limited performance.
2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is important for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet could 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 linked to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that makes us feel happy. Too few healthy carbs can mean a decline in serotonin levels, possibly causing 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. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.
5. Ketosis—Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. If you don’t have ample glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is called ketosis. During this process, your body produces ketones for a fuel source. If you’re eating a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body becomes accustomed 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 adopt a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to confirm you’re still getting enough of what your body requires to perform 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 been through it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling exhausted. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a hike in blood sugar because they are quickly digested versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a less rapid pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to regulate blood sugar, which prompts the crash. Carbs that are complex and rich in fiber will help avoid the carb spike and crash.
2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate result of consuming too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right portion size is essential for decreasing the risk of having type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are necessary for your body to work normally, they need to be the right size for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.
Adding just one serving of a sugary drink to your diet each day heightens 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 cause weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of additional issues 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 keeps the excess as fat.
When devising meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to review the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water in place of sugary drinks and sodas.
If you’re applying your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already receiving the proper, balanced nutrition your body needs to work in the best manner and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.
If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not meeting your fitness goals, contact one of our locations or sign up for our next session to undergo a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!
- Everyday Health