• Emma Green

Why carbs are awesome

Carbs typically get a bad rap in both mainstream and social media. Whilst it's true that we don't need them for survival, there's a big difference between what is necessary and what is optimal. Relying on the process of gluconeogenesis to turn non-carbohydrate food sources into energy that our body can use is not ideal, particularly if we're physically active. .⠀ Here are 3 reasons why carbs are awesome:⠀ 1. Making brain gains: Glucose from carbs are our brain's main source of energy. Glucose metabolism provides the fuel for cognitive performance through the generation of ATP. If you don't eat enough carbs, it's harder for your brain to perform at its best. 2. Improving your mood: As well as being important for cognition, carbohydrates are important for regulating our mood. This is because glucose metabolism is important for generating neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) like dopamine and serotonin. This is one of the reasons that we typically crave carbs when we are feeling down. 3. Better exercise performance: Carbohydrates are important to fuel exercise, particularly when it's at a high intensity or for a long duration. Studies have shown that when you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, your rate of perceived exertion increases (ie you think you're working harder) but this is not matched by an actual increase in performance. If you want to optimize exercise performance, make sure you're eating enough carbs! Note: there is some emerging evidence around using exogenous ketones to provide an alternate fuel source to glucose BUT this research is still in its infancy. Similarly, there's some evidence that you might be able to maintain some aspects of exercise performance with a ketogenic diet BUT there is no evidence that a ketogenic diet improves exercise performance.

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