Carbohydrates aren’t bad for you and they can and should be eaten on a regular basis because they supply the fuel that your body burns as energy. They also help your body digest and utilize protein. Carbs are the dominant energy source that gets you through the day. Unfortunately, many of us eat way too many of the processed or refined carbs. This is why it is helpful to understand the difference between processed or refined carbs and unprocessed or complex carbohydrates so that you can make better choices when choosing something to eat.
What are Complex Carbs?
This is the category that contains fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains. They all supply natural fiber. Fiber allows many bodily functions to occur without being absorbed by the body. Fiber assists in slowing down the process of nutrients being absorbed, lowers the bad cholesterol, delays spiking blood sugar levels, helps you feel full and helps keep you “regular”. Some natural and unprocessed carbohydrate options are:
- split peas
What are Simple Carbohydrates?
These are the carbs that tease us and trick us into eating more than we should. They are processed and refined they contain lots of high fructose corn syrup, sugar and/or salt; they are typically cheap and easy to fix. Some refined carbs are even hidden in otherwise healthy foods such as salad dressings and yogurt. Reading the nutrition label and measuring out your portions are 2 easy ways to reduce these carbohydrates without even trying. Some of these refined foods that should be limited are:
- white rice
- fruit juices
Why should we limit these carbohydrates? Because they are the one food category that is almost single handedly responsible for the overweight/obesity epidemic and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body over produces insulin in order to stimulate the liver to convert glucose into fat. Historically, this stored fat could be used as energy during times of famine. It enabled people to survive extended periods of calorie deprivation. However, today, most of us are dealing with excessive calories, insulin resistance has become a problem.
How Many Carbs Should you Eat?
In general, how much you eat will depend upon how active you are. However, choosing foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains while limiting your consumption of highly refined carbs is best. Giving your body the fuel it is meant to use is beneficial for a fit and healthy body.
There are always options available to you and choosing the healthier one will always result in a positive outcome. You will feel better and have more energy, to get through your daily tasks, when your body gets the necessary carbohydrates.