Monday, May 18, 2009

Carbs Are Not the Enemy

I love it when my girlfriends tell me about their weight loss plans. First things first: gym membership (CHECK) , food shopping with green friendly bags (CHECK), decline after work happy hour get togethers (CHECK), eliminate carbs from the diet (BIG RED X ). Eliminating carbs is not the answer. Yes, you will lose weight by eating low carbs but for all the wrong reasons:

1) You are only losing water weight – Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates. Glycogen is made of glucose bonds and water. So most of the initial weight people lose when cutting carbs is water. Low carbs are counterproductive to your metabolism. So when stores are low, so is your capacity to do work. In other words, welcome to Grumpy old men city.
2) Your energy levels will be reduced – Carbs are the most important nutrient for physical activity and they are the main source for intense work.
3) You start to slow down – Think of it this way: when you remove a major player from the lineup, someone else has to step up to the plate. The same is true when we do not have a balanced diet and we remove carbs, but this time the relief player is protein. Your body takes amino acids (the building blocks of protein) from lean mass tissue. After a while, less lean mass screws around with your metabolic rate and makes you very slow.

4) It’s brain food -Your brain and central nervous system require carbs for proper function. No explanation needed people, eat an effing potato already!

So basically, it’s not carbs that are bad, it’s the TYPE of carbs that you eat and what’s added to it that are bad!!! Read on for some examples of the bad stuff:

1) Processed Foods - When foods become simplified they are absorbed into the blood stream quickly. This would be good if you are active. Eating white carbs are ideal after a workout to restore blood sugar levels. But this is not the case most of the time. Most of the time people who eat processed foods are inactive, and their blood sugars will rise. If this occurs often excess insulin turns into what??!! Yes ladies and gentleman …fat !!!

2) Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup - More than half of Americans get their carbs from simple sugars. Eating foods high in sugar consistently is linked to obesity and in worse case scenarios can turn into Type II Diabetes.

3) Fatty Toppings – Carbs are not fattening. Rather it’s the alfredo sauce on the whole wheat pasta that makes it fattening. So watch those extras!!!

So here's a solution, eat foods high in fiber. Click here for a short list . High fiber foods slow down the absorption rate of sugars and exercise reduces IS*. Also, the more complex the carb the higher the amount of dietary fiber it contains. Complex carbs are found in fruits, vegetables (the greener the better), nuts, seeds, and grains. So eat some healthy carbs and enjoy folks, and with No Apologies!

*IS is short for for insulin sensitivity

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