December 28, 2012 by mybattlebuddyfitness
Well, I’m back as promised with more riveting information about CARBS! Last time I told you which carbs you should include in your diet, and which ones you should avoid. This post will give you the why? behind my advice. I tried to keep the scientific mumbo-jumbo to a minimum and the explanations simple. I do think it’s important that you at least kind of understand how your body processes the things that you put into it. Once I learned what my body does with the fuel I give it, I became much more conscious of what I ate, and by proxy, I made much better nutritional choices for myself. Hopefully some of this information will help you navigate through your days.
So, what the heck are carbs, anyway? Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. In fact, carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy, particularly in the brain. Foods that contain sugars, starches, and fiber all belong to the carbohydrate family. Simply put, YOU NEED CARBS. It is important to understand though that there are bad carbs, which are known as simple carbohydrates, and there are good carbs which are known as complex carbohydrates. The terms complex and simple refer to how the carbohydrates are broken down into energy once you consume them. I promise that if you focus on consuming the right amount of good carbs, you won’t gain weight and you won’t miss those bad carbs.
Complex carbs contain the kind of fuel that your body needs to perform its best. Complex carbs are typically high in fiber, which breaks down more slowly in your body and keeps your blood sugar level steady throughout the day. A steady blood sugar level means that will feel less hungry and irritable and your energy should remain more even as well. Because foods that contain complex carbohydrates tend to have higher fiber and lower calories than most foods containing simple carbs, you should find yourself feeling fuller while eating fewer calories. It would take a lot more fruit to equal the same number of calories you’d eat in a candy bar, and even better, you’ll probably feel satisfied for a longer period of time by eating the fruit.
In general, bad carbs are refined, processed carbohydrate foods that have had all or most of their natural nutrients and fiber removed in order to make them taste better, easier to transport, and more “consumer friendly.” Most baked goods, white breads, pastas, snack foods, candies, and non-diet soft drinks fit into this category. Bleached, enriched, “white” flour and white sugar – along with an array of artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives – are the most common ingredients used to make “bad carb” foods. When you feed your body simple carbs (like fructose and glucose), you are likely eating “empty” calories that contain no nutritional value. In addition, sugar in the absence of fiber means that your body doesn’t have to work very hard to get the glucose unleashed into the bloodstream, which causes your blood sugar to spike rapidly. A rapid spike in blood sugar could send you running back to the refrigerator right after you closed it. Unless you are training for an athletic event, or you need a sudden rush of energy for some reason, it is best to avoid these simple carbs in your daily diet.
One of the big reasons why bad carbs are harmful is because the human body is not able to process them very well. Our hormonal and digestive systems developed over the course of millions of years. Yet only in the past 100 years or so have humans had access to these highly-processed carbohydrates. Because of this, most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels. Insulin production, especially, is thrown “out of whack” as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a typical simple carb-latent meal. This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels– a big reason why you often feel lethargic after eating high-sugar, unhealthy meals.
Good carbs generally have these healthy characteristics:
(1) High in fiber: helps you stay full longer (and avoid overeating), provides sustained energy, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps to remove toxins from the body
(2) Low glycemic index: stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production
(3) High in nutrients: natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes, & other phytonutrients promote health and help to prevent chronic disease
(4) Low “energy-density” (except nuts & seeds): helps you feel full without a lot of calories, provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight maintenance
(5) Greater “thermic effect”: naturally stimulates metabolism and promotes fat loss
I sure hope you can digest this information easily and I hope it helps you to make good choices when choosing your carbohydrates.
Enjoy the last few days of the holiday season with your friends and family. Don’t wait until New Year’s Day to start working on your goals. Today is a new day, seize the opportunity to do better for yourself.