Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

Macronutrients – Carbohydrates


Yes, carbohydrates can be unhealthy just as any other macronutrient. The quality and quantity are what you need to consider.

There are so many different diets out there, they´re just different macronutrient ratios and with all these different diets some “experts” or “gurus” even start fighting claiming their diet is the best one. What frustrates me is that most of these experts or gurus eat a lot of unhealthy foods. So, it´s not only about macros, we´re focusing on the wrong point.

The last macronutrient we will talk about is carbohydrates, there are 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are carbon-based molecules that contain water and can be classified in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest basic structure which include glucose (the simplest form of sugar), fructose (fruit) and galactose (dairy). Glucose is the building block of most complex carbohydrates and it´s your body´s preferred source of energy (that´s what we´ve been told). These simple sugars do not need to be broken down, so they get into the bloodstream and are used immediately.

Disaccharides are two monosacchrides bound together which include sucrose and lactose.

Polysaccharides are more than two monosaccharides bound together which include starches.

Some years ago, this three groups (monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides) were divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates depending on how fast or slow they were digested and how fast or slow they raise blood glucose. The simpler the molecule of sugar, the easier it is to break it down; the more complex the molecule, the more it must be broken down and the longer it takes to absorb. Simple carbohydrates were used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which are easier to digest and make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates were used to describe polysaccharides which take longer to digest and increase blood sugar slowly.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so your body needs to keep it regulated, when you eat too much sugar it gets to your bloodstream, insulin raises to take that glucose from the bloodstream to the cell and use it for energy or store it as glycogen in the muscles and if there´s an excess it stores the rest as fat.

Contrary to what we´ve been told our body performs better in a high fat – low carbohydrate diet with moderate protein. The amount of carbohydrates that your body needs is zero, there are no essential carbohydrates as there are essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids (fats) the only reason we need carbohydrates is to vitamins and minerals but this doesn´t mean that you need to eliminate them from your diet completely.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there are no essential carbohydrates and your body doesn´t need them you can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates.

The best carbohydrates sources you can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, some fruits and those carbs like oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa and corn tortilla. The reason this carbs are better is because they are not highly processed and refined and they are not loaded with extra sugars and unhealthy oils.

There´s one point that I want to make clear, the only difference between complex and simple carbohydrates is the speed at which they raise insulin and get broken down and digested but they´re all carbohydrates, for your body they´re still sugar.

The type of diet or nutrition program you follow is the one that works best for you, the one that keeps you healthy and support your fitness goals and also the one the makes you feel great this is why you need to listen to your body, to find out which foods make you feel your best, deliver the best results and you can sustain for long periods of time.

For the last 3 posts we´ve been talking about macronutrients, we learnt the basics and functions of each macro in a simple way. There´s a lot of information and it can get very complex this is why we will continue talking about macronutrients and food in general so that you understand how everything works, how our body responds to each food option and how we can make better choices to not only lose weight, get in amazing shape and sustain your results but also maintain optimal health and live a fulfilled life.

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