Part 3- Carbohydrates

Carbs  (carbohydrates) are the final part in our trilogy of macronutrients articles

Who hasn’t heard “If you want to lose weight, go No-Carb” or “Carbs make you fat”?

These are just some of the myths and blanket statements we hear, and hopefully this blog will give you a deeper understanding of carbs and how you can include them as part of your nutritional regime.

We want to first address the negative stigma around good and bad. As discussed in our previous blog, “Why re feed or Cheat Meals are a thing of the past” there are no good or bad foods; food is food and this pertains to carbohydrates. There are a variety of different carbs – which we will discuss later in this blog – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good or bad. 

It’s also important to note that unlike protein and fats there are no essential Carbohydrates. We have essential amino acids (Protein) and essential fatty acids (Fats) but this isn’t the case for carbs. What does that mean? Essentially you could survive with carbohydrates excluded from your diet, something that we do not recommend or suggest. 


Why are carbs not classified “essential”?

We are perfectly capable of producing adequate glucose in the absence of dietary carbohydrates and sufficient calories to fuel essential tissue on a day to day basis BUT if you intend on doing anything else (exercise etc) carbohydrates become a fundamental requirement.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the Daily Reference Value (DRV) for Carbohydrates should be 50% of your daily food energy. When it comes to the general population we deal with – which includes you reading this article now – their protein requirements are higher and therefore this DRV is not a realistic amount. The Health Survey for England 2017 estimates that 28.7% of adults in England are obese and a further 35.6% are overweight but not obese, which largely equates the population being unable to exercise any portion control. In addition to that, much of the population have sedentary lifestyles and are not physically active. Looking at the general population we don’t believe that they should consume half of their daily intake from an energy source. And that is why the quantity needed becomes so  confusing. What we believe should be taken into consideration is individual goals, current activity levels & body composition to name a few.


Benefits of eating Carbs

Carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. They boost performance, strength and recovery allowing you train hard and more frequently and have shown to potentially improve sleep quality.

Low carb and low calorie diets can cause havoc to your hormones. It is not uncommon for female fitness athletes to stop getting their period  (bikini competitor syndrome). Carbs can help maintain a healthy metabolism and thyroid Function


Can help us achieve our goals but how much should you have?

This comes down to a whole host of factors; how lean you currently are, activity levels, goals, muscle mass and many more.

Here at The Cut, we recommend and suggest amounts that pertain to all these factors and then adapt depending on both subjective and objective findings from our clients such as…

How is your sleep?

Are you losing focus during the day?

Are you feeling good during sessions?

Are you having any cravings?

When putting together a nutrition programme for a new client or updating for an existing client we need to consider the factors mentioned above and figure out what is best for them, their sustainability and their goals.

Check out our other macronutrient articles on protein and fats


Written by Greg Burns

Personal Trainer London

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