Morning friends! I’m realizing it’s hard to keep up with a blog in the summer! The motivation is just not there when it’s gorgeous outside! Anyone else agree!? Since we didn’t really try any new recipes this week, I decided to write a post about our beloved friends: the carbohydrate. This was actually a guest post I wrote for Lauren at Eater Not a Runner. I don’t think she posted anything yet but I decided to put this one up on my site because I have nothing else to share!! I’m a slacker!
Anyway….we are off to spend the day at Kelly’s Island State Park. I’m pretty pumped…just hoping the weather cooperates! Any fun weekend plans??
For the past 10 + years, we’ve been hearing all kinds of hype about low carb diet trends that are supposed to speed up weight loss and improve overall health. We’ve sworn off the bread bowl, scoffed at the pizza guy, and said “as if” to the thought of anything but an egg white omelet for breakfast!
But are carbohydrates REALLY the enemy?
What if there was a way to lose weight and STILL eat pasta, breads, cereals, AND keep hunger at bay?
Turns out we CAN enjoy our favorite food group and keep our weight in check by following a diet high in complex carbs (only there’s nothing complex about it)!!!!!
- Carbohydrates fuel every cell in your body and can be found in breads, pasta, fruits, vegetables, processed foods, and soda pop. When you eat foods that contain carbs, the body breaks those carbohydrates down and converts them into the simple sugar: glucose. Glucose produces a rise in your blood sugar levels (and that rise can be higher or lower depending on the TYPE of carb you consume), so your body releases a hormone called insulin, which grabs on to glucose and puts it into your cells. (Think of a mama bird feeding their baby. Insulin is the mama and your cells are the baby bird. They cannot be fed without the mama). Once insulin successfully puts glucose in to your cells, your blood sugar drops and you become hungry, lethargic, and cranky. TIME TO EAT AGAIN!!
- The quicker the carbs you eat get digested, the sooner you become hungry!! Which carbs to choose to keep hunger at bay??????????
- Complex carbohydrates: These are the “good guys,” so to speak. They have a more moderate effect on your blood sugar levels, due to slow digestion from nutrients like fiber. They help keep you full for longer! Complex carbs also contain nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc; sources include fruits, legumes, vegetables, and WHOLE grains! MMmmmMmm
The “Not So Good”
- How is it fair to lump all carbs in the same category!!?? An “A” student wouldn’t want to share the honor roll with a flunky now would they?? We must differentiate between complex carbs, “the GOOD guys,” and simple carbs, “the not so good guys.” (Side note: I hate the word “bad”).
- Simple carbohydrates are those found in refined products like candy, cookies, cakes, and white flour. The term “not so good” represents the fact that simple carbohydrates contain very little nutritional benefit. Since these carbs are broken down so quickly, your body will actually feel hungry much sooner. In fact, researchers believe the rise in obesity and diabetes in the United States is directly proportional to the ever increasing amount of simple carbohydrates on the store shelves!
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) falls within the category of “simple” carbohydrates. It is termed “UGLY” because of the way it gets digested by the body. It’s really not as “natural” as the corn industry would like us to think. High fructose corn syrup was created by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose (another sugar). The end product is a fructose-glucose combo (similar to sugar), able to extend shelf life and sweeten your favorite processed foods in a much cheaper way. ”A new study of rats by researchers from the University of Florida suggests that a diet high in fructose may lead the body to develop a resistance to a protein called leptin, which helps control appetite. More research is needed to fully understand the relationship.” But this could be making our Nation gain weight since HFCS is literally in just about everything. Try reading an ingredients label, it’s crazy how much stuff it’s in!!
Will My Low-Carb Lifestyle Help Me Lose Weight?
- Yes and No. Following a low-carb diet is torture, in my opinion. There are just too many wonderful health benefits of complex carbohydrates that I could never give them up!! While low-carb diets may appear to help you initially drop weight quickly, long term weight-loss is much less successful. When you restrict your body of one of its main fuel sources, you find yourself tired, moody, cranky, and craving those foods you love. It’s almost impossible to maintain in the long-term.
So how can you eat carbs AND lose weight??
- Sticking with a diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates and low in those simple carbs mentioned above, will immediately aid in your weight-loss efforts. Think about it. When you take away those simple carbs, you are eliminating MOST unhealthy snack products, ALL soda pop, and adding tons of fiber! Focusing on complex carbohydrates will help you to follow a diet that is rich in WHOLE foods! After all, it’s what Mother Nature intended…isn’t it?????????
Additional Tips That Will Aid Your Weight-Loss Efforts
- Pair meals with a small salad and add lots of veggies or a light soup->this will help you feel fuller faster.
- Bulk up meals and snacks with fruits and vegetables to get more vitamins and nutrients to your daily diet, without excess calories.
- Include lots of fiber-rich foods to help you feel fuller for longer and keep your digestive system working smoothely! Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day and look to WHOLE foods for your main sources!