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Performance Depends On Carbohydrates!

If you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, feel drowsy mid-afternoon, struggle to get through a work-out, or generally lack energy, it’s time to review your diet.

Energy is the ability to do work, both mental and physical. Astonishingly, our brain, which is only 2% of our body weight, consumes a whopping 20% of the total energy used by the body in rest. Glucose, derived from foods containing carbohydrate is the brain’s main energy source under normal circumstances. It is also a critical fuel for intense and prolonged exercise. As the body’s capacity to store carbohydrate is limited, carbs need to be eaten daily, preferably at most meals. This may come as a surprise considering the current popularity of low carb diets.

Sadly, all carbohydrate foods seem to be tarnished with the same ‘bad for your health’ brush. Whilst this is true for highly processed foods and sugars, carbohydrates like wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and pulses provide sustained energy and a wealth of essential nutrients, as well as fibre.

When you eat is also important. To kick start your brain in the morning, a healthy breakfast is vital. Good choices are porridge or bircher muesli with milk/yoghurt and fruit, or eggs, sardines or baked beans on wholegrain toast. If that doesn’t appeal, a fruit smoothie with milk, yoghurt, a handful of nuts and some wheat germ is a good alternative. To re-energise following a busy morning at the office, and particularly when exercising late afternoon, a lunch containing carbohydrate is best. A vegie and chicken wrap or grain based salad with some protein and vegies are some examples. Preventing the afternoon energy slump can be achieved by eating a banana, yoghurt, or a handful of dried fruit and nuts. The evening meal should be light as you’re winding down for the night. A good dose of vegetables and modest serve of protein is adequate for most people. If you’ve exercised hard after work, add potato, kumara, pulses or a grain.

There are of course many more options for healthy meals than the ones mentioned here. Our take-home message is this – include healthy carbohydrate options in your diet, start the day on a good breakfast and topping up as needed depending on your life-style.

A full dietary analysis is a critical component of the MoRe Method Comprehensive service. To learn more about the MoRe Method or to arrange a consultation with Dietician Ian Hellemans don’t hesitate to contact our team to discuss today.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3900881/
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/551502/Eatwell_Guide_booklet.pdf
http://www.mysportscience.com/single-post/2016/04/02/New-position-statement-on-Nutrition-and-Athletic-Performance