carbohydrates

carboCarbohydrates or Carbs have gotten a bad rep lately with the fad diets that have become widely popular. The Adkins and South Beach diets suggests that you cut carbs out of your diet either completely or by drastic amounts. While studies prove that this can help reduce weight, it has not been shown to be a long term effect. This can cause a Yo-Yo effect on a person’s weight if they choose to go on a low carb diet. The weight will come off from it, but it comes back almost right away as soon as they go off the diet. 

To prevent the Yo-Yo effect from happening, start choosing your carbs wisely instead of cutting them out all together. The body actually needs carbs for fuel and proper organ functions. Cutting them out will actually cause more damage than good. Loss of energy can occur if your body does not have enough glucose(blood sugar), which is what the body transforms carbs into. 

Good Carbs Vs Bad Carbs

There are some carbs out there that you should try to stay away from. Anything made with refined flour or sugar contain no nutritional value. This goes back to my last blog about Fiber and how in the milling process, grains are stripped of their vitamins and minerals and left with a starchy endosperm. 

When consumed, the starchy foods are almost immediately digested and turned into glucose. This causes a spike in indulin and causes your blood sugar level to shoot up. This is why you will get a rush of energy and then feel a sudden crash. Some refined foods are white bread, white rice, potatos, sugar sweetened beverages, and candy bars. These are the carbs you should stay away from. They have been linked to obesity and diabetes.

Which carbs can you have then? Anything that is made with whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Again anything with a good amount of Fiber in it will be your best bet. Refer to Health/Fitness Blog 10 for more info on Fiber.

The difference between the 2 types of carbs is the glycemic index, which is how fast and how high a certain type of food can boost blood sugar. The higher the number, the worst it is for your blood sugar level. The lower number foods digest slower in your system and has a lower level of blood sugar increase.

See below for a table of foods and their glycemic index

Low Glycemic Load (10 or under) 
High-fiber fruits and vegetables (not including potatoes) 
Bran cereals (1 oz) 
Many legumes, including chick peas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, pinto beans (5 oz cooked, approx. 3/4 cup) 

Medium Glycemic Load (11-19) 
Pearled barley: 
1 cup cooked 
Brown rice: 3/4 cup cooked 
Oatmeal: 1 cup cooked 
Bulgur: 3/4 cup cooked 
Rice cakes: 3 cakes 
Whole grain breads: 1 slice 
Whole-grain pasta: 1 ¼ cup cooked 
No-sugar added fruit juices: 8 oz 

High Glycemic Load (20+) 
Baked potato 
French fries 
Refined breakfast cereal: 1 oz 
Sugar-sweetened beverages: 12 oz 
Jelly beans: 10 large or 30 small 
Candy bars: 1 2-oz bar or 3 mini bars 
Couscous: 1 cup cooked 
Cranberry juice cocktail: 8 oz 
White basmati rice: 1 cup cooked 
White-flour pasta: 1¼ cup cooked 


The percentage of carbs you should be eating a day can vary considering the amount of calories you need to maintain a healthy body weight. But I’d say about 50% of you daily intake should be carbs.


Remember losing weight consists of a eating well and exercise. So if you are trying to lose some weight, don’t just rely on dieting alone. Get out there and break a sweat. The weather is starting to get nice again, so there are no excuses!

References

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4471

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates.html

carbohydrates

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