Are You a Carb Addict??
Once again another day has come to an end for you. It’s been a lot of work balancing work goals, family matters, and fitness pursuits, but you busted your butt and accomplished much. As night time approaches you do your best to stay on point with your diet by staying away from those bad food choices that have plagued you in the past, but that feeling, that overwhelming feeling! You can sense it from your muscles, to your stomach, right up to your taste buds…and you’ve got to have …you’ve got to have it right now! Ice cream, baked beans, chips, chocolate frosting, candy, wine, it doesn’t matter what, it’s all good man…it’s all good! They’re the only things that will satisfy you now, and you can’t help yourself.
This isn’t the first day this has happened, is it? In fact, this is a scene that is more than likely playing itself out on a regular basis. So you must be some sort of “Carb Addict” right? I suppose attending CAA meetings (Carb Addicts Anonymous), or a 10 step program will help. Not quite,in fact nothing could be further from the truth. There is a physiological reason why you begin to have those cravings towards the end of your day and that reason might surprise you. If we better understand the reason behind it, we’ll better understand the ways to prevent it from happening. It all starts with having a better foundation of knowledge on how your body operates….no, don’t turn the page…this won’t be boring or have that air of overblown sophistication that may decrease most people’s interest. However, If by chance you’re not into feeling better during the
day, having better workouts, or losing weight, you probably shouldn’t read the next couple of paragraphs, but if you are…let’s begin!
It all starts with the first paragraph of this blog. Your body is working its tail off all the time even if you are not aware of it. Muscle activity for breathing, the heart muscle constantly flexing, the brain constantly thinking and a host of other cellular activities make up the bulk of work you do in the day, and that’s when you’re not moving! If you add in the work from your job, family life, and fitness activities, it all adds up to a whole lot of work your body and brain must perform. The energy to do this work does not come out of thin air. The ultimate source of energy in your body is ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). To easily describe how your body use’s and derives more of this substance to sustain the work that is does, we’ll look at how it gives your muscles the ability to contract.
Many cells in your body require ATP to do the work they do, but we can easily see what our skeletal muscles do with ATP. When you move your arm or stand on your feet, the muscles in those areas must work to facilitate the movement that movement, and it requires A LOT of ATP. In order for your body to use the energy in ATP, it breaks it down into to ADP (Adenosine Diphospate), a low energy containing molecule, thus an energy bond has been released. Now your body needs to get that ADP back to its ATP form so it can derive more energy, and throughout the bulk of your day your muscles will use a molecule of glucose to complete this transaction. Here is the key though…glucose doesn’t just magically appear in the muscle cells; it needs to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is your blood stream specifically. It doesn’t just magically appear there either. You have to ingest the right kind of carbohydrates throughout your day, at the appropriate amounts for you, and at the right times to supply your muscles and your entire body with the glucose it needs to run effectively. Your body does have reserves of glucose called glycogen just in case you’re not able to ingest what you need at the appropriate time, but if you’re eating habits aren’t all that great to begin with, you’re running on fumes. (Does the term “Starvation Mode” sound familiar?)
The bottom line is you must ingest effective sources of carbohydrates when on a balanced diet plan, and consume them in an optimal manner throughout your day with the right balance of other nutrients. If you can do this you will feel the difference in your energy level through the day, your mood, and how consistently sharper your mind is. You’ll see that you’ll have more of what you need to accomplish your goals with work, family and fitness, and by the way…those pesky carbohydrate cravings late at night will be easily controlled!!! The reason you had those cravings to begin with is because you didn’t give your body the materials it needed to do what it needed to do …so that’s your body getting PAYYY BACK!
Some of you may be thinking…”I don’t feel hungry enough to eat like that”, or” I’m on a no carb diet so I’m fine”. Seventy percent of the calories you ingest throughout the day are used for fuel. If you don’t supply your body with the optimal balance of nutrients so it can obtain glucose, you will force your body to break down other material within itself to make the glucose it needs. If you are depriving your body too much (i.e. having cravings, feeling energy fluxes during the day),then it will come mainly from the breakdown of muscle tissue, but that’s a story for another day. Until that day, as always, let's continue to create more Health, Healing and Happiness!!