Carbohydrates – An Essential Part of your Diet

The perception of carbohydrates in today’s media is that they are some evil substance that can make you fat. However, be assured that everything you may have heard about the weight-gaining ability of carbohydrates is complete fabrication, which is presented as fact, usually to sell dieting products.

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet and should, on an average, compose about 60 to 70 percent of our daily food intake. Now, some people may say that they need to take protein after workouts in order to bulk up. You may be surprised to know that carbohydrates have just as much to do, if not more, with muscle building than protein. When you get a good workout, your glycogen levels are depleted, which is just another way of saying that your energy level is depleted. This is because while you are working out, your main source of energy (carbohydrates) is burned up.

So if you have low glycogen levels (or the amount of carbohydrates you have in your body), the body cannot properly repair itself after the strenuous workout. That is why, after a workout, it is best to drink some form of carbohydrate which is quickly absorbed – such as a sugary drink (sugar is a carbohydrate).

Your body gets the required energy quickly, and can use that energy to repair your muscles with the protein you’ve consumed. You may be surprised to know that people are usually taking in too much protein with protein shakes and such (extra calories from the protein is stored as fat).

The average person is taking enough protein throughout the day with the food they eat to get the muscle gains they require. However they most likely aren’t taking the required amount of carbohydrates after workout.

With low glycogen levels it is hard for the body to repair itself, so carbohydrates are vitally important after exercises. This explains why people believe they need more protein after heavy workouts; it’s not a protein problem, it’s a carbohydrate problem.

Eating carbohydrates late at night does not directly affect weight gain. The reason you are gaining extra weight, is a result of the extra calories you are consuming that you normally wouldn’t at that time of night. You could eat extra protein late at night, and as long as the caloric intake is the same as the carbohydrate, the weight gain would be the same. It is extra calories, not carbohydrates, or any of the other food groups which dictate your weight.

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