Carb-fusion; Clearing up the confusion on Carbs
Hello my lovlies!
Today we talk CARBS, ah yes the dreaded carbohydrate macronutrient.
I’ve teamed up with an incredible lady who is an inspiration to Beki and I, just as she is to so many others, called Emma Kirke.
Emma is a Doctor, as well as a health and fitness blogger herself;
(I will post all the links to her social media and blog at the end of the post as you absolutely must check her out)
Emma has her own inspirational story and she recently celebrated the one year anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis in which time, she has completely turned her life around. I could do an entire blog post dedicated to her but i’ll let you explore her for yourself, I just hope she knows how much respect I have for her!
This post has been specially requested by a very special girl to both myself, Beki and Emma, Adele Meade 🙂 Adele too is a culinary genius and again, will post links to all her social media below! This girl has come such a long way and is proud to share her story openly, we wouldn’t be more proud of you Adele ❤ ❤
so lets start with the basics;
High GI vs Low GI
GI stands for glycemic index, it specifically relates to carbohydrates and is the value given to a food depending upon how quickly it affects your blood sugar. ‘High GI’ foods include simple sugars such as berries, potatoes and white rice where as ‘Low GI’ foods include wholegrains and pulses. In order to best utilise this information, you may choose to time lower GI foods before a workout and before you sleep, in order to obtain a slower release of energy from carbohydrates, whereas you may time to consume higher GI carbohydrates post-workout to ensure rapid delivery and replenishment of muscle glycogen.
Now, this is the process which again utilises some of these principles, some people may or may not prefer to train on higher fats and protein; for those who do, this method basically involves timing your carbohydrates mainly post-workout and throughout the evening till you hit your macronutrient goal.
Before you ask- eating carbs after a specific time in the evening does NOT cause you to store body fat, in fact, I eat the majority of my carbohydrates before I go to sleep as my last meal and wake up feeling leaner and ‘fuller’. The benefits of eating a large volume of carbohydrates as your last meal ensures a steady delivery of glycogen into your muscles to replenish what you have depleted during the day and in your workout. BUT the best thing about a carby pre-bed meal is that it actually helps you sleep! How I hear you ask? Carbs help increase melatonin and serotonin- those hormones which relax you and make you feel sleepy. If you have problems sleeping, then this could be the answer for you; try a bowl of some whole grains/oats/granola before you sleep and enjoy the beeeautiful carb-induced-food-coma (thank me later 😉 )
So what about Carb Cycling?
This concept is slightly more complicated; it involves carbohydrate manipulation for those who are more focused on achieving a particular body composition. You may or may not have noticed that athletes who ‘prep’ for shows and events adopt this method in order to achieve a very low body fat. So how does it work? The one macronutrient which remains consistent is protein, you then manipulate the amount of carbohydrates and fats dependent upon training or which day of the week it may be for you. For example, when training a body part such as legs, you may choose to have a ‘high carb’ day whereas your rest-days may be ‘low carb’ and slightly higher in fats. This diet definitely requires a lot more thought however, it’s all down to personal preference and what works for YOU!
so let’s see what Emma has to say about this;
Is there a particular carbohydrate manipulative method you adopt?
‘At the moment I am trialing a keto diet. I researched the benefits and pitfalls of a number of styles of dieting in relation to recovery and repair. My final operation was at the end of Sept, and I began the keto diet 2 weeks beforehand. A keto diet is designed to be high in good fats and therefore helpful for healing. I like to experience the different diets and their effects to be able to give my patient’s a personal insight into what they may expect when they commence a particular nutritional regime. The science in a book doesn’t explain how it might make you feel. If you are using this particular clean eating method, carb loading isn’t completely necessary, but if you do choose to carb load, research shows that using higher GI foods works best. Lower GI and starchy foods tend to be less effective and are possibly even converted to fats straight away. For the last few weeks as I have been working extremely long hours and I have included a carb loading day once a week. I still prefer to use “clean” high GI carbs such as fruit, date syrups, goat yoghurt for example rather than “dirty” carbs such as pizza & Krispy Kreme’s. This is a personal preferenceas I try to keep everything as health conscious as possible, even during a carb load. Many people use this day to eat whatever they fancy and gorge on tasty treats. Whilst some attraction of CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet) is eating whatever you want, a diet of KFC & Krispy Kreme could prevent the positive side effects being maintained. According to research whilst carb loading on keto the body will remain in its fat as fuel state for at least the first 24hrs, a carb-load shorter than this time scale will consequently render it generally impossible to gain fat during this phase. Some people use CKD twice a week on separate occasions very successfully. However, I am only using one a week.‘
What made you choose it?
‘I was attracted to this diet type as there is little to no muscle wastage recorded, whilst simultaneously ensuring heightened healing and a positive elevation in energy levels. The clean High GI carb load means that I can relax a little, especially on a weekend and in particular during the festive period with parties and events to attend. I am an advocate of balance for sustainability, but I have been strict with my diet around my operations to minimise obstruction to the repair methods in the body. I have passed the critical phase now so I am introducing the Carb-loading phases. Sugar in fruit and alcohol for example can sometimes hinder the repair process, so I chose to avoid it to minimise hinderence. Using the suggested 24hr time frame means I have more opportunity to carb load sufficiently. I struggle to eat huge quantities in one go, so the longer time scale means I can graze throughout the day and consume the correct quantity. Carb loading quantities can surprise people as to how much they need to consume for effective results, I know I was shocked at how high the figure was so I asked a personal trainer friend to double check the data.’
How long did it take you to work out what worked for you?
‘This is a fairly recent trial in terms of types of diet and consequently the type of carb load. However, it took me a while to find which foods were not suitable for my health in general and I struggled with generic carb loads of pastas and potatoes etc. For many years I had what was termed Irritable Bowl Syndrome. I have had to play a trial and error game with my diet, digestive system and the resultant consequences. I have been training with heavier weights as of July since recommencing my training program seriously after my operations in February. As a consequence I wanted to maintain my hard work in the gym with a diet that reflected muscle preservation as a paramount factor. I train on minimal time and did not want my efforts to be wasted. This diet seemed to be perfect and even more so with the added flexibility I now have from High GI carb inclusion. Whilst i was pre and post op I missed fruit so a weekly load means that I get my fix and can stay focused and on track the remainder of the week.’
What advice would you give to those just starting out with carbohydrate manipulation?
‘Just because you see everyone else doing a carb load a certain way doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. Just because you see everyone else eating Krispy Kreme and pop tarts doesn’t mean that it will be the way for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your own diet and types of carbs. Rice cakes don’t suit everyone. If you’re not happy with how it fits in to your lifestyle, change it. Carb-loading can be an extremely useful tool for effective training enhancement, but it can also be the undermining deconstruction of long hours of hard work. I find that there can be a tendency to get carried away with eating as much rubbish as possible and over estimating the amount of lean muscle mass you have which consequently leads to a miss calculation of the amount of carbs required. Seek advice from someone that is either experienced or qualified. If you are unsure or struggling to find your way don’t flounder around or stumble along blindly, you will only become frustrated and unfocused. It can be a complex minefield of jargon. Don’t be afraid to question anything if you are unsure.’
Is there anything you wouldn’t recommend?
‘In my opinion you need to find a method which suits you, your lifestyle and your tastebuds. I personally wouldn’t suggest “dirty” carbs as an inclusion in a diet plan but this is mainly due to my ultimate goal being the health of either myself or my patient. Every now and again would be fine but not as your main mission and focus. There can be detrimental side effects that you are spending your time trying to avoid for general good health. Food is your fuel and if you put the wrong fuel in your car it won’t work as efficiently as it should’
‘Fuel for Health!’
I’d just like to thank Emma for her contribution and invaluable knowledge 🙂
We can all agree she was incredibly detailed and honest with her opinions and experience!
If you’ve got any questions yourself and still aren’t fully clued up, then don’t be afraid to contact me 🙂
As promised, links to all the social media pages of these two wonderful women are posted below;
Links to Emma’s blog and social media:
Links to Adele’s blog and social media:
Lots of Love,