Carbohydrates and Weight Loss
Understanding the role that carbohydrates, or “carbs” as most of us call them, play in a balanced diet and in weight loss is something that can be confusing. The controversy regarding good carbs versus bad carbs is so confusing that many dieters choose to avoid carbohydrates altogether. If you want to look and feel better, avoiding carbohydrates is not the way to go.
Understand this one thing: carbohydrates are the basic fuel for the human body. Upon entering the body, they break down into sugars or glucose and combine with oxygen to provide fuel for the brain, muscles, nervous system and kidneys.
Carbohydrates are essential for the body to function normally and are not entirely responsible for weight gain or loss. It is true they add calories to a diet, but no more so than any other food. The real issue is the complexity of the carbohydrates that a person consumes in their diet.
Complex carbohydrates include foods like whole-grain breads, legumes and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and are excellent sources of energy for the body without causing large changes in blood sugar levels. This means that the body receives energy without causing insulin levels to fluctuate drastically.
Simple carbohydrates include processed and packaged foods such as white bread, candy, table sugar and syrups. These also provide energy for the body but are burned very quickly and can cause extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Most of us have experienced the immediate energy surge they bring as well as the “crash” that follows.
Carbohydrates and Weight Loss
Eating a diet with too many simple carbohydrates will most probably result in weight gain. Eating a diet with too few complex carbohydrates will result in malnutrition. Carbohydrates are a huge part of what is nutritionally important for the human body. A diet which requires a person to consume little or no carbohydrates often pushes the body into a process called ketosis. In this state, the body begins to break down muscle as an energy source. This is actually a state of starvation, causing a dangerous strain on the kidneys and liver of the dieter and may result in kidney failure. In general, cutting all carbohydrates completely out of a diet will cause the person to lose weight. This is only due to the fact that carbohydrates contain calories and cutting calories will result in weight loss. However, the very best diets include plenty of complex carbohydrates along with low fat and low-sodium foods. This combination causes the least fluctuation in blood sugar and allows the body to receive all of the nutrients that are required.
Carbohydrates are one of the most misunderstood parts of any diet. Choosing a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to lose weight and keep a body functioning properly. An excellent way to begin a weight loss program is start with balanced nutrition for better health and fitness.