Are you suppose to lessen or avoid your carb intake because of the talks and the popularity of the low carb diet?
But the exact opposite is the case. The kinds of carbohydrates you get from fruits and vegetables are a necessary basis of your daily diet.
Instead of helping you “pack on the pounds,” they actually help you to burn fat. They are also a major source of fuel for your body, especially your muscles, brain and nervous system.
Carbs occur in two types: simple and complex.
They are broken down into glucose, or blood sugar, which is metabolized by your body for energy.
Glucose not immediately used by you is stored in your muscles as glycogen, but if your body has an excess of glycogen, it is converted into fat.
However, because carbs prime your metabolism, you need them in order to burn fat. This is one of the major reasons you must not starve yourself and eat too few carbs.
You must eat a good intake of complex carbs, such as those found in fruits and veggies.
Simple carbs, such as those found in candies and sweets, and also fruit, are turned into glucose quickly. These are the kind which can add to your weight problem.
Complex carbs, such as those found in brown rice, veggies, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), whole grain bread, and cereals are digested. Thus, used at a much slower rate, giving your body time to prime its metabolism.
There are four calories in each and every gram of carbohydrate. Nutritionists say that 50% of your diet should consist of complex carbs.
Simple carbs are high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals.
These are the so-called “empty calories” that you find in sodas, deserts, and other such sweets, and to some extent in fruits — especially fruit juices and fruit juice drinks.
You should be getting your major carb intake from whole fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Good high carb veggies are peas, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, squash, succotash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and turnips. Succotash, sweet potatoes, and green cooked peas are the highest in carbs.
You need several servings per day of complex carb foods such as these to maintain your energy levels and keep you from getting those “sluggish” feelings that make you feel sick and tired.
Should we avoid carbs?
The complex carbs (dietary fiber) also have a very complicated molecular structure and resistant to most digestive enzymes produced by the human body.
As a result, they cannot be broken down into glucose or other nutrients at all. This is why fiber transmits the intestinal tract largely undigested. This has a knock-on effect on the speed of digestion of other carbs around them.
For example, where certain starches are “protected” by indigestible fibrous wrapping, the enzymes cannot get to grips with the starch as fast as normal.
Also, the presence of soluble fiber in the stomach and intestine typically creates a viscous mass of digesting food in which carbs and enzymes take longer to mix. Result? Carb digestion slows down.
As we have seen, since the human body runs on glucose, all carbs are converted into glucose in the digestive tract. The glucose then enters the bloodstream and thus contributes to a rise in “blood-glucose”.
Blood Glucose Must Be Kept Within Limits
A very high level of glucose in the blood is toxic, while a very low level is detrimental to bodily functions.
Therefore the body has a system to regulate the amount of glucose in the bloodstream to ensure that it remains balanced within safe parameters.
This glucose balancing system depends on two mechanisms: hunger and insulin.
Low Blood Glucose Triggers Hunger
If blood-sugar levels drop, the brain causes us to feel hungry. Result?
We eat food that is then converted into glucose and our blood glucose levels rise.
If we don’t eat and blood-glucose levels fall too low, we trigger the condition known as hypoglycemia.
If we eat a diet that contains too many high GI carbs (carbs that are rapidly converted into blood glucose) we force our body to respond by releasing equally large amounts of insulin into our bloodstream to cope with the glucose.
Over time this excessively high level of insulin can cause the “insulin-receptors” in our cells to become less sensitive to insulin.
The hunger-or-insulin see-saw mechanism works well, provided that we don’t eat too many High Glycemic Index (GI) carbs that are rapidly converted into glucose.
When this happens, when a LARGE amount of glucose enters the bloodstream (called a “sugar spike”), the system responds by releasing a LARGE quantity of insulin. It thinks we’ve eaten a huge amount of food.
The amount of insulin is so large that not only does it disperse the food glucose we have just eaten, it disperses a lot more. Result? Our blood glucose falls too low.
Thus, within a short time, about 2-3 hours, the brain tells us to feel hungry and we recommence eating. This rapid rise and fall in blood glucose, caused by excess production of insulin, is not good for our health or our eating habits.
5 Myths about Carbs in the Diet
It seems that carbohydrates are the new evil food item. It used to be that fat was the nutritional villain in our lives.
This led to the “fat-free” food craze that ironically has made so many people fat. In place of fat, sugar, MSG and other fat-building chemicals were added to foods. We now know that fats don’t make you fat, sugar does.
Recently, low-carb diets like the Caveman Diet and the Keto Diet are all the rage. They limit carbohydrates from processed foods and carbohydrates in general.
They focus on eating healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries, wild caught fish and grass-fed beef.
Is this low-carb attitude the best nutritional approach?
Let’s take a look at some carbohydrate myths you may have fallen for, and reveal the truth behind the lie.
1 – All Carbohydrates Are Equal
Simple carbohydrates are sugars. They are broken down quickly in your body, so quickly that they often are stored as fat for energy.
Complex carbohydrates are starches. They take a long time to process and do not lead to excessive fat build-up.
Complex carbohydrates are great for your body, simple carbohydrates are not, and all carbohydrates are not created equal.
2 – A Low-Carb Diet Is Right for Everyone
No 2 human beings are even remotely similar. Your internal processes, millions of them, are totally different than all of the other 7 billion people roaming the planet.
Low-carb diets have proven to be incredibly healthy for a great number of people. That said, what works for one person may not work for you.
3 – You Will Always Lose Weight on a Low-Carb Diet
This simply isn’t true. There are plenty of low-carb foods that can be fattening, especially if you consume too many calories. No matter what you eat, if you consume more calories than you burn on a daily basis, you will gain weight.
4 – Eating Low Carb Means Eating More Unhealthy Saturated Fat
We now know, after literally decades of anti-fat propaganda, that saturated fat is basically harmless. You don’t have to avoid healthy fats like coconut oil. Fat cuts of meat are okay to eat as well.
So are fatty fish like salmon, rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Just because we know that saturated fat is not the villain it has been made out to be. But, it doesn’t mean you should run out and consume 50 grams of fat every day, however.
5 – You Don’t Need Dietary Fiber As Long As You Cut Down on Carbohydrates
Dietary fiber is essential to human health. Soluble fiber can lead to health benefits such as improved cholesterol levels and weight loss. Unfortunately, a lot of carb-rich foods are also high in healthy fiber.
It may be a good idea to add some other fiber supplement to your diet if you are cutting back on the carbs.
By eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day, you will be boosting your health through better carb consumption.
The National Cancer Institute recommends that you have fruit juice — or better yet fresh fruit – every day for breakfast.
You must make these foods visible and easy to access throughout your daily routine.
And have to “sample the delicious spectrum” when it comes to the many different colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables.
You will get your “five a day” if you eat one cup of dark, leafy greens, one-half cup of red tomatoes, one-half cup of yellow peppers, six ounces of orange juice and one-half cup of blueberries. This is only one example of how you can consume “five a day” of fruits and vegetables to keep your complex carb ratio up.
Please notice this includes only one serving of fruit juice. Various nutrition experts state that you should eat whole, fresh fruits more often than drinking fruit juice, which keeps those simple sugars from adding to your weight problem.
The reason for this, simple sugars are more concentrated in fruit juices than in whole fruits.
Eat at least two cups of fruit a day, in a variety of fresh choices, such as one small banana, one large orange and one-quarter cup of fresh or canned apricots or peaches.
Also, eating fresh fruit adds more fiber to your diet and helps flush toxins from your system better than only drinking fruit juice does.
Eat plenty of dark, leafy green veggies, which are among the best foods for you. Eat broccoli and kale, as well as mustard greens and spinach.
In the same way, eat “orange” veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.
For peas and beans, among the best are pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.
Foods such as these are extremely healthy, low in fat, and terrific for raising your energy levels.
Eating fruits and veggies will also greater lower your risk for cancer.
Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University have made “top ten” lists of the best antioxidant or anti-cancer fruits and vegetables.
Here are some of the most antioxidant members of the fruit and vegetable families of foods:
1) Fruits: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries
2) Veggies: kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell peppers, onions, corn, and eggplant
You can easily sneak these into your family’s eating patterns. Try serving raw veggies at every meal, and take advantage of packaged, prepared veggies.
Put veggies into your breakfast and lunch, and start each family dinner with a mixed green salad.
Serve a salad entrée dish once per week, fill your spaghetti sauce with vegetables, and begin ordering a weekly pizza – with an extra serving of healthy vegetables.
If we were to eat more veggies and fewer processed foods, we as a country would lose weight, clean out our clogged arteries, balance our blood sugar and shut down a large number of hospitals in the process.
This would roughly solve growing health and obesity problems – in a nutshell.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
2 Types of Carbs: Simple & Complex
- Simple Carbs: Turned into glucose quickly, add to your weight problem; found in sodas, desserts, sweets
- Complex Carbs: Digested at a much slower rate; found in vegetables, legumes, brown rice
- 50% of diet must consist of complex carbs
Should you avoid carbs?
- Complex carbs have a very complicated molecular structure and resistant to most digestive enzymes
- Blood glucose must be kept within limits
- Low blood glucose triggers hunger
- Trigger hypoglycemia if not eat and blood-glucose fall too low
5 Myths about Carbs in a Diet
- All carbohydrates are equal
- A low-carb diet is right for everyone
- You will always lose weight on a low-carb diet
- Eating low carb means eating more unhealthy saturated fat
- You don’t need dietary fiber as long as you cut down on carbohydrates
Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day – boost health through better carb consumption.
– Are you fond of eating simple carbs?
– How much complex carbs are you eating each day?
– Do you avoid carbohydrates?
– Do you believe on those low-carb diet myths?
– How many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat everyday?
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