Carbohydrates are the second of three macronutrients that our bodies use daily. When carbohydrates are consumed, the energy that the body obtains from them is used immediately. Think of carbs like throwing gas on a fire – you get a huge burst of energy that runs out quickly. Carbs are placed on linear scale based on their insulin response on the body. This scale is the glycemic index and it runs from simple carbs to complex carbs. The insulin response on the body correlates with starchiness, nutrient density, and other metabolic effects on the body like leptin and ghrelin hormones control of hunger. Simple carbs are typically higher in sugar like breads, chips, rice, and fruits. These are going to also be starchier and have less nutrients overall when compared to complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates would be most vegetables, especially vibrant colors, and dark greens.
We can determine how many carbohydrates to eat per day after our protein amount has been established using the Zone calculations. This amount is measured in “blocks.” The way Zone spreads calories among the macronutrients, 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, 30% protein, is an excellent baseline rule for anyone starting to work on nutrition. The number of grams in protein should not be altered by much, but carbohydrates and fat have a bit of wiggle room. Some people may feel better by eating less carbohydrates and more fat, or vice versa. Particularly, athletes who work more with fast workouts or heavy lifting may respond better to increasing carbohydrates to fuel their workout regimen.
In every block of food there is 9 grams of carbohydrates. Try looking at some nutrition labels and see how many blocks of carbohydratesyou are eating per day. There is a new variation of the “Block Prescription Based on Sex and Body Type” chart at the bottom of this post showing how many grams of carbs you should be eating daily based on sex and body type.
Small female: 90g carbohydrates per day (10 blocks of carbohydrates)
Medium female: 99g pr carbohydrates per day (11 blocks of carbohydrates)
Large female: 117g carbohydrates per day (13 blocks of carbohydrates)
Athletic, well muscled female: 126g carbohydrates per day (14 blocks of carbohydrates)
Small male: 144g carbohydrates per day (16 blocks of carbohydrates)
Medium male: 153g carbohydrates per day (17 blocks of carbohydrates)
Large male: 171g carbohydrates per day (19 blocks of carbohydrates)
X-Large male: 180g carbohydrates per day (20 blocks of carbohydrates)
Large hard gainer: 189g carbohydrates per day (21 blocks of carbohydrates)
Athletic, well muscled male: 225g carbohydrates per day (25 blocks of carbohydrates)
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