In light of the popularity of high-protein, low-carb diets, there are many misconceptions about these two nutritional building blocks. For many, protein has become synonymous with “good” and carbs have become synonymous with “bad.” If you exercise regularly, you may be wondering if a protein-based diet will be less fattening for you than a carbohydrate-based diet or if you need to consume more protein to fuel your workouts.
First, lets’ start with the popular misconception that carbohydrates are fattening. The reality is that excess calories are fattening. Whether those calories come from carbs, proteins or fats is somewhat irrelevant – if your body isn’t using them, it’s storing them – and it stores them as fat.
The high-protein diets are popular because a high-protein meal feels more filling – and takes longer to digest – than a high-carb meal. But does that make more sense for you if you’re looking to effectively fuel your gym time?
The answer is yes. And no. Your muscles need carbohydrates to perform. When you eat carbs, your body converts them to glycogen – the fuel your muscles need to operate. When your glycogen stores are low, you become fatigued and are unable to keep up the same intensity of exercise. The paradox lies in the fact that your body does not burn fat in any meaningful amount until this ready-made storehouse of glycogen is used up. So you need carbs to perform, but as long as you’re burning carbs, you’re not burning fat as effectively as you could be.
So the key is in finding that balance that works for you. What are your goals? If your goal is fat loss, then a diet higher in protein than carbs might be best. However, don’t eliminate carbs completely. If you do that, your muscles won’t have the natural energy to get you to the point where you can burn fat.
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On the other hand, if your goal is athletic performance – say you want to run a 5k race or a marathon, then a diet with a higher proportion of carbs to protein might be just what you need to achieve the results you are looking for. Of course, if your goal is to build muscle mass, you’ll want a lot of both – carbs to fuel the process and protein to build the muscles.
There are many diet sites and books you can buy on finding the balance, but ultimately, it’s your body that will tell you what the right balance is for you. If you’re not eating enough carbs, you’ll feel it as a lack of energy in the midst of your workout. And if you’re not eating enough protein, you’ll know it by your appetite – you’ll be hungrier more often. Listen to your body, get to know how you react to your diet and you’ll find your balance.
Proteins, Carbs and Your Skin
One of the most overlooked secrets to beautiful skin is our diet. We spend more money than we’d like to admit on skincare products and makeup, but some simple knowledge about how our bodies process proteins and carbohydrates are free and, if we act on it, can have results that put even the most.