Nutrition — All carbohydrates are not created equally

running-advice-bugAs people manage their diets, one of the first things they often do is visit a calorie calculator that will spit out a set of values such as the number of calories they should eat and the number of calories coming from carbohydrates, protein and fat. The problem that this can create is that not all carbohydrates, proteins and fats are created equally.

Just last night someone was looking at the output of one such calculator and said to me, “that seems like a lot of carbohydrate, is that correct?” The answer is: “it depends on what type of carbohydrates you’re eating.”

Carbohydrates are found in many types of foods and the way that the body deals with them depends on what type of carbohydrate you’re eating. Most people are familiar with the terms “simple carbohydrates” and “complex carbohydrates”, but there is also another category called “fiber” as well. What often trips people up is that the impact on the body between a spoon of granulated sugar is not the same as the coming from a cup of broccoli, yet both would count as carbohydrate.
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Nutrition– Accelerating the Weight Loss Results of Running

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

In previous articles, I’ve talked about two related issues: first that running does not always lead directly to weight loss and second the role of diet in that equation. The bottom line is that running, even burning lots of calories, can only result in weight loss if the runner is not over-eating calories that keep them storing extra calories an everyday basis.

But there is another side of this discussion that I haven’t treated here: how can a runner make their running workouts burn more calories, helping contribute more to their weight loss goals? This is a great question that Coach Dean and me talked about with some runners over the weekend, so let me share the answer with you.

The Role of Calories in Fueling Workouts
Food calories are required to fuel workouts. In fact, particular foods are required to power your body through workouts. The most important foods are those that fuel your muscles and your brain, which come from the simple and complex carbohydrates. Because these foods act as fuel for working muscles, it is important for a dieting runner to eat enough carbohydrate to provide them fuel for their workouts.

This is the first area where most dieting runners (or just dieters) run into trouble. It might feel logical to cut as many calories as possible from their diets to lose weight, but in doing so they then cut out the fuels needed to do their workouts. It is important to keep in mind that exercise is a means to an end for dieters: fuel is required for exercise and although it feels sensible not to eat, this just reduces the impact of the exercise itself.
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