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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Can you have too many carbohydrates?

Hi. What's the deal with carbohydrates? People in my gym today were complaining they have had too many. What are they please? I know I must be having too many.

A.

Our expert says...

Carbohydrates are the components of food that are the body?s preferred energy source. Carbohydrate rich food includes the starchy ones like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, but sugars are also a form of carbohydrate. In fact the official guidance from the Food Standards Agency is that starchy carbohydrate foods - particularly the high fibre type, like whole grains, should make up the bulk of the diet with only smaller amount of protein and fat. However it's possible to over do the amount you have, and to have the sugary type in too high a quantity as well. Even though they only have 4 calories per gram (compared with 9 calories per gram in fat) not watching portion sizes can mean the amount of calories you have from carbohydrates can mount up. The key is to have carbohydrates in moderation - some diets like the Atkins diet of a few years ago advocate cutting down on them significantly, but on the whole this is not a good idea as it affects your energy levels adversely. A good rule of thumb is to split a meal into one third carb, one third fruit and veg, with the rest being made up of the protein part of your meal which could include chicken or lean meat, fish, eggs, quorn or tofu.

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