Carbs, carbs, carbs – they’re everywhere; almost everything we humans put in our mouths is carbs and fat. You can’t eat without getting carbs. You almost can’t breathe without getting carbs.
What most people don’t understand is that a trained muscle with use cards, even store cards these stored carbs are call glycogen. When your muscles don’t use the carbs you just ate – guess where they go, you got it fat. Your body stores them in your fat cells because there is no more room in your muscles.
That’s why athletes need lots of carbs. They deplete their glycogen supply as they work out. Now this is the whole discussion we can have about working out or lifting weights to build muscle to burn more carbs.
This is a blog about carbs.
Now with all this talk about carbs, you may think the Atkins program with high protein and no carbs is the answer, but not quite. Dr. Atkins and Dr. David Heber both preach high protein, but we are not no-carb or extreme-low-carb advocates. Carbs are necessary for energy and brain function—and, if you work out, you need even more for muscle recovery. The challenge is to get the proper amount for YOUR body.
That’s what a wellness profile will tell you. How much nutrition you need every day to feed your muscles based on your lean body mass.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans rely on cereal, bagels, doughnuts, soft drinks, pasta, bread and other processed carbs for the majority of their daily calorie intakes. These carbs can easily add up to over 400 grams a day, which is 1,600 calories – four calories per gram. That’s more calories per day than most women need to sustain their weight.
Top that off with small amounts of protein here and there and some fat, and the daily calorie total goes to about 1,800 to 2,000. That doesn’t sound like too much, but . . . it’s more than most women burn in a day. Have some doubts, wear a heart monitor for a day and see what your body actually burns.
If all you do is sit at a desk all day, then go home, eat and watch TV, you need less than 150 grams of carbs a day for energy. Without some exercise that works your muscles, you don’t burn carbs so you don’t create a glycogen deficit to store carbs in your muscles. That means most of the remaining 250 grams of carbs you eat feed your fat cells (and can clog your arteries).
And when you do work out hard, your total musculature and liver only store about 400 grams of carbs total—that’s in your entire body. If you use, say, 150 grams of carbs in any one workout, you only need to eat around 250 grams a day, if that, to stay in a healthy balance.
Remember, that’s for someone who works out. Burning 150 grams of carbs is a 600 calories workout. When is the last time you burned 600 calories in a workout?
Most people don’t lift anything heavier than a laptop or soda can! And they are getting two to three times more calories than they burn! No wonder obesity is out of control.
We have measured the lean body mass and body fat of over 2000 women in the past 5 years and very few need more that 200 grams of carbs per day to maintain their ideal weight. And even less than 200 grams if they want to lose weight.
Your daily carb count is an individual matter, dependent on body weight, goals, activity and sensitivity. So what’s the solution? The wellness evaluation will tell you what your exact resting metabolic rate is so you can create a sensible meal plan to meet your health and weight loss goals.
Learn to make good choices and follow your plan. Keep your carb intake moderate and eat only healthy complex carbs most of the time and you can splurge once in a while desserts or whatever every so often. And, of course, work your muscles a few days a week to create a glycogen deficit.
You also want to vary your carb intake almost every day and up your protein intake at every meal to feed and rebuild your muscle tissue and boost your metabolism. We recommend protein at every meal as the way to keep your muscle and boost your metabolism. A bit of good fat every day is also good, primarily essential fatty acids found in fish, nuts and olive oil, to maintain hormones and enzyme function. (Nuts are a great snack, but you shouldn’t eat more than a handful at any one sitting.)
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