Beginning Nutrition: Part 2 Carbohydrates

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates have gotten quite a bad rap lately with all this low carb stuff out there. Are they responsible for fat gain? Should bodybuilders avoid them? The answer is no to both. Carbohydrates are currently viewed as the main culprit for gaining body fat.

Ignored is the fact that carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for your bodies - and brain's - energy needs. It's carb energy that fuels your workouts. There are two key components to carbohydrates that people need to understand: there are two types of carbohydrates, sugary or simple carbohydrates and complex, slower burning carbohydrates.

The other thing people need to understand about carbohydrates is that too many calories, of any type, can lead to fat gain. With carbohydrates, people eat too many sugary carb foods, which also contain fat. And while it's true that you need carbohydrates for energy, you only need so much.

If you overload your energy needs and are not active enough to burn the excess calories, they will be stored as fat. Most people are not that active and they also eat too many calories of all types, this is why obesity is the problem it is today.

Most people do not understand what a calorie is. The production of energy is measured in calories. The calorie content of a food is determined by measuring the amount of heat produced by that food in a laboratory device called a calorimeter.

Somewhere along the way, food became a matter of taste - the higher the fat and sugar content the better. The basic function of food was forgotten. As a bodybuilder, you should be concerned about your calorie needs and types, and also you should have at least an idea, and at best be keeping a diet log, of what you eat everyday - in terms of types of calories and total calories.

When trying to gain mass, you need around 2-3 grams per lb. of body weight of preferably complex carbohydrates. If you have a high percentage of body fat, drop that amount to 1 ½ grams per lb. of body weight. The only real times to take in simple carbohydrates are with the pre/post workout and morning shakes mentioned above.

As well, as a bodybuilder, you should have a far better understanding of carbohydrates than the average person. As I said before, carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source. Once ingested, they are turned into glucose, which, among other things, fuels muscular contractions and glycogen, which is stored in the muscles and liver for future use.

without enough stored carbohydrate in the muscles, they take on a flat appearance and you lack the energy to train hard. As long as your carb intake doesn't overwhelm your energy needs, you do not have to worry about fat gains from carb intake.

GOOD FOOD CHOICES FOR CARBOHYDRATES ARE

  • Whole grains

  • Oatmeal

  • Brown rice

  • Sweet potatoes

SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES

  • Fruit juice

  • All sugars

GOOD FRUIT CHOICES INCLUDE

  • Bananas

  • Pears

  • Apples

  • Oranges

Keep a eye out for part 3 on Fats