There are three main fuels your body uses to obtain energy, Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein. Carbohydrates are the more preferable fuel for the body and are used up first; stores usually last up to 12 hours. As we all already know fat stores last much longer, from 6 months to six years. When the body is unable to utilise carbohydrates or fats, protein is the last source of energy.
Carbohydrates are also a particularly important fuel for the brain and muscles. Carbohydrates should account for 45-65% of the recommended daily allowance for the average individual (this varies depending on goals). However, it is recommended to include complex carbohydrate in the diet and decrease the simple carbohydrates.
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) it is recommended to have 55 grams of protein per day or 0.8g per kg of body weight for the average individual (see Do you really need protein?). There is an established evidence base supporting greater appetite control when carbohydrate intake is replaced by/added to protein.
For some the carbohydrate requirement is higher, for instance athletes, highly active individuals and those looking to gain weight may wish to add in the extra calories with the addition of supplements such as Carbs Fast Energy.
Blood Glucose Regulation
Health professionals often use the terms Glycaemic index, simple and complex sugars, yet what does this all mean?
Glycaemic Index is a measure of the time taken for your body to metabolise carbohydrates into sugar (glucose). Glycaemic Load (GL) measures the amount of carbohydrate in a food alongside how quickly blood sugar levels are increased. Simple sugars are the sugars you would get from foods like cakes, biscuits, sweets etc. Complex carbohydrates normally refer to starches; these are carbohydrates that lead to the slow release of sugars (usually due to the fibre content) such as oats.
GI is measured on a scale of 0-100 (0 being lowest and 100 highest), any food that raises blood sugar levels rapidly (along with insulin secretion) is considered to be a high GL food. A GL of less than 10 is considered to be low and a GL of 20+ is considered high. Low GI foods are digested and absorbed slowly, leading to a steady release sugars into the blood. So what all this means is, if your blood sugar levels are more stable you are less likely to crave the ‘junk foods’ that provides our bodies with the quick and simple sugars.
Consuming low GI foods is not just a recommendation for diabetics; however experts advise incorporating low GI foods into the diet can also be beneficial for anyone aspiring for a healthy balanced diet.
Complex carbohydrates release energy slowly, and usually contain a greater fibre and multivitamin/mineral content in contrast with simple carbohydrates. Examples include; wholegrain varieties, starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn, beans lentils and green vegetables. Additionally, the fibre content with complex carbohydrates help increase your satiety levels.
For those of you looking to find complex carbohydrates in a supplement form Three Phase Mass is a unique formula consisting of both slow and fast releasing carbohydrates.
Please note if you have any existing or suspected medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding consult your healthcare practitioner before use of any supplements.
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