Eat Carbohydrates, But how much?

Though it may now seem that uninhibited consumption of carbs is quite fine, think again. In order to use carbohydrate effectively to obtain needed energy to fuel activity, while also burning fat and maintaining muscle, the amount and frequency of carb consumption are pivotal.

Excess carbs will get stored as fat. Thus, it’s important to eat only as much as is needed for daily workouts and glycogen repletion. This amount will most likely be different for each individual. Many people know someone who can “eat anything and as much as they want and not gain a pound”. They would be characterized as a slow oxidizer. These people traditionally convert carbs to cellular energy at a relatively slow rate and can get away with indulging in a higher-carb diet. In fact, slow oxidizers feel most energized and least tired when eating greater amounts of carbohydrates than their fast-oxidative counterparts.

Fast oxidizers convert carbs to energy very quickly, and as a result, release larger amounts of insulin to buffer this response. Fast oxidizers do not feel energized on high-carbohydrate diets. In fact, it’s recommended that fast oxidizers eat more relative amounts of slow-burning protein and fats in order to feel energized and les tired.

Though competitive endurance athletes and individuals whose goal is hypertrophy (such as bodybuilders) do need to meet the demands of their fitness goals through increased intake of carbs (and calories), the amount of carbohydrates needed for the average exercise enthusiast is not nearly as much as RDAs would have us believe.

Everyday exercisers engaging in interval training or weight training with the goal of fat loss, muscle maintenance and energized workouts should be eating small amounts of carbs throughout the day. Consumption of 20-40 grams, up to five times per day, is optimal for necessary energy to fuel daily exercise, with minimal fat storage effects. Fat-burning and energy sustainability are greatly enhanced through consumption of five to six meals of smaller-portioned carbohydrates per day, than through eating three larger meals, stuffed with carb-rich foods. High-carb meals, paired with long periods of fasting in between, create a scenario destined for fat storage and lethargy.

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