Carbohydrates. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em.
As I read various blogs on the topics of good health and dieting, I find that some claim all carbs should be avoided in order to maintain weight while others claim carbs are essential for good health. The Atkins Diet is probably ringing a bell right now. So in this post, I want to share with you the scoop on carbs, from both sides … the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is, my take from what I’ve learned.
We’ve all learned it. In order to maintain good health we need to eat all the proper nutrients: water, protein, fats, and even carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods contain vital nutrients important for disease prevention, plus carbs supply the body with energy and, therefore, should not be avoided. But not all carbs are the same. There are two types of carbs. There are simple carbs, which are digested quickly and include fructose, sucrose, and lactose. We get a lot of simple carbs through processed foods such as soda and cookies. These foods have few nutrients but lots of calories. And then there are complex carbs, which take longer to digest and contain fiber and starch. Examples of complex carbs are legumes, whole grains, and many vegetables. According to Wellness Magazine, “Both simple and complex carbs are converted to blood glucose, which fuels our body’s cells and is the only source of energy for the brain.” That statement alone explains why carbs are essential to our health.
Now for the bad, and it can be really bad. The amount of carbs we consume can go way over the body’s energy needs, and when that happens it is stored as fat. When too many carbs are consumed, blood glucose is raised and the pancreas releases insulin so as to lower the glucose level. When insulin is released, it promotes the accumulation of fat. That is why so many people have difficulty losing weight and why they are at risk for diabetes. On top of all of this, excess insulin stimulates the liver to make more cholesterol.
In addition, if you are doing high intensity sports or exercising, a low-carb diet could be a bad choice. You will feel lethargic if you don’t have enough carbohydrates stored up since they are your body’s main energy source.
Many foods that are high in carbohydrates taste wonderful! Just take a look at the picture above. The food in the picture doesn’t look ugly, but the damage it can do to one’s body when consumed in large amounts sure can be ugly. We need to differentiate the good carbs from the bad carbs and stay away from the bad. Even with the good carbs, we must learn to eat in smaller portions. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Things to remember when you grocery shop.