A reader asks: How can you eat carbs for training but not overload on them?
Hala Barghout is trained in BSc Nutrition and Dietetics and is one of our diet experts. She says: As you train, your nutritional needs change. You need to eat foods high in carbohydrates since they are your body’s main source of energy. Your carb and protein intake should rise proportionally.
The trick is to choose the right carbohydrates. Simple carbs like sugar and processed flour are quickly absorbed by the body’s digestive system. This causes a kind of carb overload, and your body releases huge amounts of insulin to combat the overload. Not only is the excess insulin bad for your heart, but it encourages weight gain. Insulin is the main hormone in your body responsible for fat storage.
Eat plenty of carbs, but eat carbs that are slowly digested by the body like whole grain flour, pasta and bread, vegetables, oats and unprocessed grains like brown rice. These kinds of food not only contain complex carbs that are slowly digested by the body, but are usually higher in vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial to the body. They are higher in fibre, which also keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Your carb intake should be around 45 per cent to 55 per cent of your total daily calorie intake.