How Much Carbohydrates Should I be Eating? 3 Factors to consider
Getting the right balance between your fats and carbohydrates can be challenging. We hear about amazing health benefits of BOTH high carb and high-fat approaches so it gets very confusing.
I see many people who come into the clinic with their hearts set on one or the other. Usually because it has been recommended by someone or they have seen results from a friend or online.
But the reality is, some people thrive off very high carbohydrate diets, others simply do not, and the same goes for very low carb diets.
In this article I want to outline some reasons why this is the case, and provide you with three factors that will affect both your carbohydrate tolerance and carbohydrate requirements.
1. STRENGTH TRAINING
The more strength/power training you are doing (weight lifting, body weight interval training. sprints), the greater your carbohydrate tolerance is likely to be.
A) Carbohydrates are your bodies preferred fuel source when doing higher intensity sessions (such as weightlifting and sprints). Whereas, in lower intensity states, including resting, or stead state endurance training, the bodies preferred fuel source is usually fat.
B) Strength training increases your lean mass. This improves your insulin sensitivity, and increases your glycogen storage capacity (ability to store carbs in muscle tissue instead of turning them to fat).
Overall the aim is to fuel your body based on the fuel sources it is using.
2. DIET: What have you been eating?
This concept is important
Unlike fats, with excess carbohydrate consumption, you can develop what we call “insulin resistance” which is an intolerance to carbohydrates. If you have a history of consuming highly processed foods, you may have developed this over time which will DECREASE the amount of carbohydrate your body can now handle.
If this the case, you may need to start on a lower carbohydrate diet, but it doesn’t have to be forever. The good new is, you CAN improve insulin sensitivity with the right diet and exercise regime. It will just take patients and time.
3. HORMONES: Do you have a hormonal imbalance?
Estrogen Dominance, Thyroid Dysfunction…
Fats are important for the production of hormones and help stabilize your blood sugar (reduce insulin). So If you have a history of having, or think you might have hormonal imbalances, then fats are your friend and adopting a very high carbohydrate diet with minimal fats could be problematic.
On the other hand, there is also evidence that we need carbohydrates for the conversion of your thyroid hormones into their active form (exactly how MUCH carbohydrate we need for this is not yet certain).
So to summarise Its important to understand that BOTH carbohydrates and fats play an important role in hormone health, and eliminating one alltogether could be dangerous.
There you have it!
Now…these are just 3 factors.
I haven’t even gone into body type, inflammation, autoimmunity, and lifestyle but those things will ALSO have an impact on which macronutrient balance is going to be the most beneficial for you.
The main message here is that before you jump on the band wagon of ONE eating regime, have a quick think about these factors i’ve listed. Overall, remember you are unique, and just because something is right for one person, doesn’t mean it is right for you
If you need help or have any questions about your diet you can contact me HERE.