Are you scared of eating carbohydrates in an effort to lose weight faster?
Whenever I speak with anyone on a quest to lose weight, one thing always stands out from the conversation. They always admit to having massively cut down their carbohydrate intake. It doesn’t matter whether they are on a diet or not. Somehow, they believe that they have to eliminate carbohydrates to be able to achieve their ideal weight.
Hating carbohydrates did not start with Dr. Atkins but have been with us for a very long time. Atkins went a step further by teaching the world that carbs are the culprits for gaining weight and to undo their effect, you simply do away with them.
Are carbs that evil as many of us have been erroneously led to believe and should we be scared of eating carbohydrates?
On one hand, carbs do a lot of good to the body. They are crucial for giving us energy and get us raring to go. Our bodies break down carbs into glucose which is immediately used for energy and the rest is stored in our muscles and liver for future use.
Carbs are Important
One of the most important reasons why we all need carbs is because our brains function with sugar. It requires some form of sugar for it to function effectively. Now you know why you always feel grumpy and sluggish when you are Carb deprived. This is also the reason behind the mid-morning headaches that most people experience whenever they skip breakfast.
Such people will only perform optimally once they eat a fast digesting carbohydrate. The caffeine in the morning tea or coffee definitely has an effect on the nervous system, but it is the glucose that feeds and wakes up your brain, making you alert.
Are all carbs good to you?
So, should we, therefore, conclude that carbs are good? It’s not that simple. The type of carbohydrates that you eat makes a very big difference in terms of the nutrition that you get. The main carbs are grains such as cereal, bread, rice, pasta and also fruits, vegetables candy and soft drinks.
The difference between whole foods and the processed versions is that you get more nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals and fiber from real foods whereas the other stuff fills you up with empty calories which have no value to the body but to only expand your gut.
How are Carbs Broken Down
When you eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose regardless of whether they are simple or complex. The way carbs are processed in the body determines whether you put on fat or not. Simple carbs elevate your insulin levels compared to complex carbs. Maintaining fairly stable levels of insulin is vital to long-term weight loss.
Complex carbohydrates like whole grains have more fiber, take longer to break down, and don’t spike your blood sugar as quickly as those with less fiber. You, therefore, don’t get the sugar rush caused by a spike in the levels of insulin in your bloodstream. Your body takes longer to digest them, so the sugar is evenly distributed in your blood.
On the other hand, if you are always eating simple carbohydrates, like sodas and cakes, they quickly shoot your insulin levels to the roof, followed by a crash, and cause a need for more sugar to boost your energy levels.
This becomes a vicious cycle and before you know it, you become hooked to the sugar. You eat it to satisfy your craving, get high and soon after a crash and then you continue looking for more. Sugar is addictive just like cocaine. There you have it. Now you know the reason why you feel hungry soon after consuming a plate of chips and a half liter coke.
Over-consumption of Simple Carbs
Most of my clients struggle with the intake of simple carbs in their diets. This problem is more prevalent among those who are vegetarians and tend to overeat carbs more than any other macro-nutrient. If for example, you start your day with breakfast comprised of tea, with bread and margarine or fruit jam, then take more tea with a donut at ten, chapatti with veggies at lunch, more tea with a piece of cake at 4 pm, and finally rice with beans at dinner.
As you can clearly see, each of the listed meals above causes your insulin to fluctuate because most of them are simple carbs. Eating this way regularly will severely limit your efforts to lose weight and become lean because of the endless fluctuation of this fat storing hormone.
A regular intake of carbs will supply your body with energy. Eating them in the early part of the day ensures that they are used for the intended purpose.
So, are carbs good or bad? The answer, as I indicated earlier, is not a straight yes or no because of several underlying factors. Your body needs energy in order to function and carbs are an excellent source for both short-term and long-term energy. However, if you eat too many of the wrong kind, you will end up feeling weak, groggy and lethargic and on top of that gain excess pounds.
Striking a balance is the way to go just like we need balance in other areas of our life. In case you cut out rice, pasta, and potatoes from your diet, make sure you have plenty of green leafy veggies to ensure a well-rounded nutrition.
Eat plenty of fruits and veggies throughout the day to get lots of nutrients, fiber, and carbs that your body needs. Get rid of those empty snacks- candy, cookies, cakes- that have zero fiber and only accelerate the process of enlarging your waistline.
Apply this simple tip and you will be amazed at how fast those stubborn pounds will melt away. If you focus on the good kind and control your portions, carbs are good and comprise a healthy diet. Wholesome eating for a healthy living and even for weight loss should encompass all food groups for proper nourishment and giving the body everything that it requires.
Avoid diets that totally eliminate whole macro-nutrients. Going on such diets will, without doubt, result in frustration.
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