I started studying to be a nutritionist earlier this year, and have been learning so much. One topic that I have been studying recently is the always debatable low carb diet. I thought I would share with you what I have learnt and whether or not I think they are good or bad.
Why Do You Need Carbs?
Carbs are converted to glucose in your body. Your brain relies almost solely on glucose to function. Red blood cells also rely entirely on glucose, so they are important!
What Happens When You Eat Low Carb?
Your liver can actually produce glucose without carbohydrates (this is known as gluconeogenesis). Therefore your body has the ability to convert other fuels such as fat and protein into glucose, when it does not have enough carbohydrate/glucose (i.e. when you are eating low carb). When you eat low carb, your brain adapts to deriving more energy from fat so typically you will also burn more fat.
What Happens When You Eat High Carb?
When you eat a high carbohydrate meal, your blood sugar (glucose) increases rapidly. As a result, insulin is released into your bloodstream. Insulin tells your cells to move this excess glucose from your blood and store it in your fat cells.
Because glucose has been moved to your fat cells, there is less circulating glucose and therefore less glucose available to your brain. Therefore too many carbohydrates are actually worse for your brain than too little.
In my opinion, a low carbohydrate diet is actually great for weight loss. It also lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases good (HDL) cholesterol. This is considered general knowledge now in the fitness / health industry, but because of the traditional food pyramid and all of the “low fat” products available, most people still think that low fat is the way to go.
So what is low carb? Typically anything less than 25-30% of your daily intake from carbs. This doesn’t mean that you should eat NO carb. You still need some carbs. If you just cut out junk food, sugar and bad carbs from white sources (i.e. white bread, white pasta, sugary cereals, etc) you will be well on your way to a healthier diet!
- If you eat a higher carbohydrate meal directly after exercise, your body will use this to replenish its glucose stores to fuel the brain, NOT to store as fat. This is the BEST time to eat carbs (directly after a workout).
- First thing in the morning when you haven’t eaten for at least 9 hours, your body is more likely to start using fat because there is little glucose available. Therefore if fat loss is your goal, first thing in the morning is the best time to do low to moderate intensity cardio such as going for a walk.
Love Rachael xx
Hi, so if I were to eat carbs in the morning AND after workout, would that be okay to consume carbs twice?
Secondly, what is the LOWest carb consumption for mesomorphs? Thank you Rachael :)
Hi I’m young and was a gymnast and my thighs have grown rapidly to the point I hate looking in the mirror. I seem to try everything but it just doesn’t work. How can I really push myself to be healthier and more active?
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For more helpful tips please have a read of this blog post
Can I eat brown rice and whole grain bread?
If you aren’t allergic to gluten, that’s a great option! xx
Was just wondering what you knew about having russet potatoes as a carb source – would eating one medium potato (baked) a day still be ideal for weight loss? :) Thanks!
Hi Hannah! It really depends on your overall diet, but definitely not a problem to eat one potato per day for carbs. It is a good idea to eat a variety of carbs though :) xx
I have got my legs to a reasonable size but don’t want them to get any bigger. I just wondered if you use squats/leg press/extension/ham curl, for your legs, and what weights/reps you would recommend for someone who wants to get leaner legs?
Sorry to trouble you.
I think I responded to your Instagram DM hun xx
Hi again, I’ve been doing a bit of research and have tried to come up with a weight training plan to do alongside the 20 mins cardio when at the gym. Do you think this is ok? I would do this first then a 10 minute ab workout and then 20 mins cardio.
Squats with dumbbell: 3×12
Push ups: 3×12
Standing dumbbell press: 3×10
Glute bridge: 3×12
Mountain climbers: 45 seconds
You did your research well! That looks like a great and well balanced workout :) x
Thank you very much, will definitely give that a try! X
Hi Rachael, I love your posts and I’ve been trying to follow your nutrition and exercise plan for endomorphs. I do HIIT once a week, running once a week, a step class once a week and then the gym 3 times a week doing ab workout, weight training and 20 minutes cardio after. I don’t know what to incorporate into the weight training or where to really begin with it, any suggestions?
Hi Abbie, Rachael here, your workout regime sounds great so keep it up! :) It can be tricky knowing what to do in terms of weight training. I would start with doing full body weights. So that means alternate lower and upper body exercises. Try something like squats superset with push ups (then rest). Do 3 sets of 12 reps. And then do the same with lunges and assisted chin ups. Then do the same with back extensions and a core exercise such as crunches on the swiss ball. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! :) xx
Hi, I was wondering if you could do a blog post more specifically for skinny fat people because I’m struggling with that right now and I really need help! Thank you!
Hi Meaghan, Rachael here. That’s a great idea thank you! I will do a post for you x