0 item(s) - £0.00
Free shipping over £50 Finest quality Products Manufactured in the UK GMP Approved

Carbs - feed your brain

Posted on Wed 9th September 2015 in Training Tips

Low carb or no carb, are they truly good for you? The real answer is no, however, if followed on a short term basis for a quick burst of weight loss then they aren't too harmful. 

The main reason as to why you should not follow a low carb diet long term is because your brain can only function on calories that are derived from carbohydrates (in extreme circumstances of energy deprivation it will use other substances as fuel) once broken down into glucose. When you reduce the glucose in your body to a level that is too low or constantly low your brain will select what areas need the calories the most - so the 'vital areas' - the ones that control unconscious actions of the body like breathing and your heart beating will utilise what energy is available and the less hardy areas - eg the ones in control of memory will slow.

Did you know - the average human brain weighs 2% of your total body weight, however, it requires 20% of your resting metabolic rate calories per day - these are the calories required to maintain weight and normal body functions should you spend a day doing nothing. Its an expensive organ to keep functioning at its optimum level where calories are concerned. For example if you resting metabolic rate was 1300 calories per day, then your brain would require 260 of these calories just to keep you alive and tell your lungs to take in air and your heart to keep beating etc.

This is not an excuse to go reaching for a plate of chips. The ideal way to keep yourself alert and awake is to give your brain a constant supply of energy - it works best with about 25g of glucose circulating in your blood stream - that is the equivalent to the amount of glucose found in a banana.

Eating small meals often are the best way to maintain glucose levels. The ideal carbohydrate source is from low GI foods - these foods are broken into glucose modules more slowly so they provide a steadier supply of energy to the brain. If you combine a portion of carbohydrates with some protein or fats the absorption rate is slowed down further - a good excuse for some sweet potato and chicken. Eating frequent small meals will also keep your metabolism up so you will be burning energy efficiently.

Making sure your brain is happy will mean that 1- you actually get to the gym as you don't have that 'Monday feeling', 2 - you are more likely to reach your training goals as you will be more focused and be able to mentally push yourself further, and 3 - you will have more energy as you are also supplying the rest of your body with fuel.

Ideally 60% of your calories should come from good low GI carbohydrates, so make sure you meet your goals and don't let your brain get the best of you.