Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose.
- Milk (also a protein)
- Table sugar
Complex carbs are foods that include multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.”
Foods rich in complex carbs include:
- Starchy vegetables like corn and peas
Glycemic Index Explained
The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) increases based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar rises.
The Farrell's nutrition plan was created to supply members with a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and overeating.
5 Effects of Too Little Carbs
Carbs are an important macronutrient. Removing or limiting carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve outlined below.
1. Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our central fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs decreases the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin burning fat. Doesn’t sound bad, but for active people, exhaustion and energy loss will settle in quickly and long-term effects could mean limited performance.
2. Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is essential for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet could cause constipation, so it’s important to ensure you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to remain regular.
3. Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been tied to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Too few healthy carbs can mean a drop in serotonin levels, possibly producing mood changes like anger, sadness, and even mild symptoms of depression.
4. Hypoglycemia—Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.
5. Ketosis—Ketosis is a regular metabolic process. If you don’t have ample glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is known as ketosis. During this process, your body creates ketones for a fuel source. If you’re following a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body adjusts to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy is when your body accrues too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals adopt a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to assure you’re still getting enough of what your body needs to perform normally.
3 Effects of Too Many Carbs
What could happen to your body if you eat too many unhealthy carbs?
1. Sugar Crash—We’ve all gone through it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling sleepy. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause a hike in blood sugar because they are quickly broken down versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a less rapid pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike occurs, our bodies release hormones to adjust blood sugar, which creates the crash. Carbs that are complex and dense in fiber will help block the carb spike and crash.
2. Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate cause of consuming too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can heighten your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right portion size is essential for decreasing the risk of having type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are vital for proper function, they need to be sized for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.
Adding just one serving of a sugary soda to your diet daily ups your risk by 15 percent, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in November 2010 in Diabetes Care.
3. Weight Gain—Taking in too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also cause weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of additional concerns like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have too many in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body stores the excess as fat.
When preparing meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to take a look at the nutrition label. Don’t buy foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and have water instead of sugary drinks and sodas.
If you’re following your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already taking in the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to perform in the best manner and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.
If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not achieving your fitness goals, reach out to one of our locations or enroll in our next session to have a real fitness transformation! We also offer a free week of fitness classes!
- Everyday Health