Health

Carbs: The Good, The Bad, The Delicious

I love carbs…like LOVE them! The problem is, my body does not always process them well. When I load up on breads and pastas, I end up regretting it later. But I need carbs. My body needs them. Many people take part in the low-carb or no-carb diets without fully understanding what exactly they are doing to their body and not evaluating their body’s need. I think it is important to understand what the body requires for it to be able to function well, as well as stepping back and seeing what your body processes appropriately. So, let’s do a little educating session. For myself as well as others…

Many people argue whether taking in carbohydrates are good or bad for you. The answer is both. Like all things, carbs should be ingested in moderation. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, or sugar. Now before you freak out, we NEED that glucose. Consider it fuel for our body’s constantly running engine. So, we ingest the carbohydrates, they break down into glucose, and then our pancreas takes action and secretes insulin that tells those glucose cells where to go to act as the fuel for our system. The problem is, you don’t want to overfill your tank-that’s not good. And if your engine isn’t working correctly, you have to be mindful of how much fuel you put in it.

MODERATION IS KEY!

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Carbohydrates are everywhere. We are all well aware of the fact that they are in our breads and pastas, but they are also in many other foods that we don’t typically think of. We also need to realize that there are different types of carbohydrates as well.

Complex carbohydrates are our “good carbs“. They have a different chemical structure than others and contain fiber. This make-up forces our bodies to work harder to digest them and cause energy to be released over a longer period of time.Complex carbohydrate foods are less processed and closer to their natural state.

  • Examples: whole grains, bran cereals, fresh fruits, green vegetables

Why are they good?-They are high in fibers and other nutrients, They naturally stimulate your metabolism, & They keep you feeling full with fewer calories.

Simple carbohydrates are our “bad carbs”. These differ in their chemical structure from their better counterparts in that they are made of smaller particles of sugar. These sugars are digested quickly. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells, and if it isn’t used immediately, it converts to fat. Simple carbohydrate foods are typically more processed and lack their natural fibers and nutrients.

  • Examples: refined breads, candy and deserts, sugary cereals, sodas and sugary drinks

Why are they bad?- They are low in natural fibers and nutrients, They contain empty calories that are easily converted to fat, & The resulting elevation in glucose levels leave you feeling tired.

What I came to realize when I started researching carbohydrates for myself, was that so many of the foods I ate contained them. I had not been eating them in moderation because I was not even paying attention to what I was really putting into my body. On top of that, I was at one point, ingesting an awful large amount of simple carbs without an appropriate balance of complex carbs. When I began cutting out more of those simple carbohydrate foods, I began to notice a significant weight loss. On top of that, and even more importantly, I felt MUCH better. It was all about knowing the right fuel to use for my engine, and making sure I don’t try to overfill the tank.

Hopefully this makes things a little easier to understand. Stay whole, hearty, & happy my friends….

-Shawna

 

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