It's Kickboxing Day

Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

Blog category:
Fitness Tips

Having a balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats is important, but what happens if we don’t eat enough or too much of these vital foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s go over carbohydrates.

Knowing what you need to can be confusing, especially with so much contradictory information out there on nutrition.

At Farrell’s, we take the guessing out of what to eat, how much and when. When you follow our proven, whole-food nutrition plan, you will have results. And feel the transformation in your body and mind that only nutrient-dense food can provide.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source for energy. There are simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Common simple carb foods include:

  • Milk (also a protein)
  • Table sugar
  • Fruit

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are foods that include multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”

Foods dense in complex carbs include:
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Starchy vegetables like corn and peas
  • Pasta
  • Bread

Glycemic Index Explained

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) increases based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar goes up.

The Farrell's nutrition plan was made to provide members with a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and overeating.
 

5 Effects of Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an important macronutrient. Removing or reducing carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve shown below.

1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our main 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 negative, but for people who are active, exhaustion and energy loss will occur quickly and long-term effects could mean reduced performance.

2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is necessary 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 be regular.

3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been tied to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical that helps us feel happy. Too few healthy carbs can mean a drop in serotonin levels, possibly bringing on 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. Signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

5. KetosisKetosis is a regular 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 makes ketones for a fuel source. If you’re eating a balanced diet, this won’t be a problem and your body becomes accustomed to to your levels. Where ketosis can become problematic 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 follow a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to make certain you’re still getting plenty of what your body requires to function 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 sleepy. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause an increase in blood sugar because they are quickly absorbed versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a less rapid pace, releasing energy over time. When this spike takes place, our bodies release hormones to manage blood sugar, which causes the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense in fiber will help avoid the carb spike and crash.

2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate effect of taking in too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Limiting your portions is essential for decreasing the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are important for proper function, 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 sweet soda to your diet each day increases 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—Eating too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also lead to weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of additional concerns like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have too many in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body keeps the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When planning meals and grocery shopping, make a routine to read the nutrition label. Avoid foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water as a substitute for sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re using your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already receiving the proper, balanced nutrition your body needs to perform successfully and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not reaching your fitness goals, reach out to one of our locations or join our next session to have a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!

Sources:

  1. LiveStrong
  2. Everyday Health
  3. LiveStrong
Back to Blog