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Let’s Talk Carbohydrates

I feel like carbohydrates have a bad rap.  There are so many diets that say carbohydrates are bad and should be avoided like the plague.  While it is true that too many carbohydrates can cause problems, it doesn’t mean they should be avoided all together. After all, too much of anything (even a good thing) is bad, right?

When carbohydrates are carefully controlled in a diet they can be a great asset to a person who is trying to lose weight or even just be healthy. The key is to not only control how many carbs you are consuming but to pay attention to what kinds of carbs you are eating as well.

For example, there are two types of carbs, simple and complex, and there are major differences between the two of them.  One is good and one is…. Not as good. In order to be eating the good carbs, rather than the bad ones, you need to be informed and understand what the good carbs are and what they are doing to assist you.

Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are made up of simple sugars, meaning they are chemically made up of only one or two sugars.  Simple carbohydrates are broken up and absorbed quickly into the body. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are just the opposite.  They contain more than two types of sugars and they take much longer than the simple carbs to be broken up and absorbed into the body.

Now the question is, which is better? Can you take a guess?… In this case simple isn’t better, so if you guessed simple carbohydrates you would be wrong.  Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down and absorbed into the body and as a result they are easily converted to fat; whereas the complex carbohydrates take longer to absorb so they do not become fat as easily.

Another thing to keep in mind when eating is the glycemic index of the food you are eating. The glycemic index refers to the effects of the carbohydrates in a food on blood sugar levels. Foods that break down quickly and rapidly release glucose in the blood stream usually have a higher glycemic index while foods that take longer to process have a lower glycemic index.

Examples of foods with a low GI are fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Foods with a high GI are foods like white bread, white rice, and glucose.

If you are eating the right amount of the good carbs you will receive several health benefits from them. First of all, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. Simple carbohydrates will provide your body with energy but it won’t last long whereas complex carbohydrates will give you long lasting, sustainable energy. Not only do carbohydrates provide the body with physical energy but the brain also receives energy from glucose that is found in carbohydrates. And who wouldn’t want some more energy to their brain?

Carbohydrates have a ton of dietary fiber in them which is great because fiber can really improve your digestive health and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Many people are lacking fiber in their diet so carbohydrates, like fruits and veggies, are a great way to get the recommended amount of fiber each day.

Because they are full of fiber, carbohydrates can really help you maintain a healthy weight or lose unwanted weight. The reasoning behind this is that carbohydrates are low energy-dense foods. That means that they fill you up quicker and you stay satisfied longer all while giving you lower amounts of calories.

Now that you know all about carbohydrates you can focus on getting the right amount of the right carbohydrates each day. Then you will see how much carbohydrates can help in your attempts to live a healthier, happier life.

 

If you are not a part of our 12 week shape up challenge, this is the nutrition article for week ten of the challenge. Click here to join.

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