The Paleo Diet era made some serious ground in getting us to eat our veggies & foods in their whole form. Clap it up for that!
But per usual, we like to take things to the extreme – so yes we need our daily veggies – but when does a good thing become bad?
For the majority of peeps, increasing veggie intake is enough to worry about – but if you are the girl/guy slamming broccoli on brussel sprouts on spaghetti squash then perhaps we need to pull back to roughly 25-35g per day.
If you’re an avid exerciser of fitness, then we need to fuel for such occasions.
If you’re into zumba, body pump, spin, CF, or running/biking/swimming then that means your muscles are pulling from its glycogen stores to fuel this work.
Glycogen is a term we use to describe a stored form of glucose in your muscles. So if you went to your 5am CF class this morning, you burned glucose from your muscles. & if you plan to go to class tomorrow, then we need to replenish it – ya?
Here’s proof: in one study 6 sets of leg extensions done at 70% of 1RM were found to reduce glycogen in the used muscles by 39%. In the other key study a 30 min workout consisting of 5 sets each of front squats, back squats, leg presses & leg extensions resulted in a 28% decrease in muscle glycogen. That’s just 30 min of exercise, not to mention the rest of the activities you do in a day pulling from these stores.
So can we all be in agreement that we need to eat glucose in order to fuel our bodies through these modalities of fitness we love so much? Not to mention the other hundreds of processes in our body that depend on glucose?
Sure veggies have carbs in them – but they are primarily in the form of fiber which is not enough to support your daily CF class & afternoon running sessions.
We need STARCH which is a term we use to describe stored glucose in plants.
Starches include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, white rice, GF pasta, oatmeal, & other grains.
If we don’t supplement with starchy carbs after our workout & throughout the day, our glycogen levels never replenish & your brain sends a signal of “hungry AF” until it gets what it wants. Unfortunately, by the time we cave to our brain’s powerful hormonal signal, its in the form of candy & cookies after our heap of meat & veggies for dinner.
So why aren’t we listening to our body’s cravings (that pint of ice cream after dinner) & feed it what it needs throughout the day in the form of complex starchy carbs that don’t skyrocket our blood sugar & crap out our metabolism?
My point exactly 🙂
Here’s how to think about your fiber needs.
In conclusion, micromanaging our fiber intake is something we only get the luxury of worrying about AFTER we get the foundation in place (like adequate sleep/food/hydration/stress management/etc), but at least you have the background story of why we would want to keep fiber between 25-35g per day. PLUS your gut will thank you!
Reference: (Astorino, T., & Kravitz, L. (2000). Glycogen & resistance training. IDEA Personal Trainer, 11(7), 21-23.)