"I Don't Eat Carbs"
I have missed the sensational TV viewing that is the fitness fanatic on My Kitchen Rules complaining about the carbohydrate content of any food, ever. I prefer to take long shots on FIFA 16 than watch people cook and eat dinner, but apparently that puts me in the minority.
Since people are talking about it - and my planned article was only half complete - I thought I'd write about cutting carbohydrates from your diet and whether it is a smart thing to do.
The Curious Case of the Fitness Fanatic
Even though I missed the live episodes, I have spoken to a few clients in the gym and my Google game is strong, so I think I have gotten myself across the situation. I originally thought everyone was talking about the Lawyer Couple again, but how wrong I was...
There is a fitness fanatic called Jess on My Kitchen Rules who doesn't like to eat carbs, sugar, fried food and anything else that gets plated up in front of her. She is also unafraid to voice her thoughts on nutrition and healthy eating, which is creating great viewing for everyone at home.
First of all, Jess is on the wrong show. I have said previously that Masterchef should get rid of 'Marco Week' and replace it with 'Macro Week', where contestants must create meals that contain 40g protein 65g carbohydrate and 15g fat. While you might expect variations of chicken, broccoli and brown rice to be boring, I believe the show would rate extremely well in the 18-25 Instagram Physique Athlete demographic, who can get you 25% off green tea when you use the code SNAKEOIL.
Back to Jess - the fact that anyone would enter a cooking show and then complain about being served food is a bit odd. There is no doubt it all gets played up for the cameras, but surely if you were that uncomfortable eating the foods you would never participate?
But hang on, glucose is the predominant source of fuel for the brain. Maybe Jess' avoidance of carbohydrate led to poor decision making and accidentally auditioning for a cooking show... who knows?
Side Note: Carbohydrates and Self-Control
Slightly off-topic, but quite interesting. I learned a few weeks ago that the act of self-control reduced blood glucose on a physiological level.
When you are operating in an energy deficit (dieting) there are times you will have low-blood glucose, which will send signals to your brain to eat. Your brain will signal to eat a carb-heavy snack, but you then override this with self-control, due to your willpower helping you stick to the diet.
However, the process of exhibiting this self-control has required further carbohydrates, meaning your blood-glucose drops even more and you desire to eat rises, which is unfortunate and cruel.
Should You Eat Carbs?
There is no reason anyone should eliminate any macronutrient - including carbohydrates - from their diet. Low carbohydrate diets can be quite effective for short-term weight loss, but longer-term sustainability and adherence is typically low.
A fitness fanatic is the last person who should be cutting carbs completely. Moderate to high intensity exercise requires glycogen (stored carbohydrate) to be utilised as a fuel substrate for performance. At this intensity, the required speed of energy production is too great for the oxidation of fatty acids to meet demand. Therefore, if you do not have adequate carbohydrate available, exercise intensity will be compromised.
As exercise intensity and duration increases, so does demand for carbohydrate. An endurance athlete could require 8-10g/kg BW daily of carbohydrate. For an 70kg male, that is up to 700g carbohydrate per day.
Fitness fanatics that are interested in performance should keep carbohydrates in their nutritional intake. On the Body Recomposition Program we may experiment with different amounts, types or timing of carbohydrates, but they will never be completely eliminated. Because we maintain or aim to improve performance, even when body composition is the primary objective, carbohydrates will always play an important role in these nutrition programs.
The best part of this whole reality situation is Paleo Pete sitting next to Manu and not saying a word. Pete must be infatuated by Jess and I can see those two living happily every after in Pete's cave, cooking Kale chips, living in fear of gluten and writing books on childhood nutrition. In the meantime, Pete should voice his opinion about Jess' thoughts - I'd be keen to see what he says.
Eat carbohydrates, otherwise I'll reference you the next time an article is taking a while to come along. Jess is no doubt playing it up for the cameras/producers and it is working very well. Ratings are through the cave roof and it has even been written about in the annals of nutritional science - The Integrated Fitness & Nutrition Blog!