Good Carbs Bad Carbs

How Do We Differentiate  

market place
The Market Place

Carbohydrates (Carbs) are found in numerous foods that are consumed daily.  Especially those containing sugar, more importantly carbs are also found in most fruits and vegetables as well.  How do we know what’s good and what’s bad?   Carbs are a critical form of energy which is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  However, what types of carbs are preferable?  There are three types of carbs – sugar, starch and fiber.  We all know the side effects of eating too much sugar and the devastation it has on our entire body.  Starches and sugars are basically one and the same thing.  Both are used for energy and if unused it gets stored as fat.  The fiber that comes from most fruits and vegetables is considered a good source of carbohydrates.  But did you know that carbs are also found in other food types?  Meat protein for instance if consumed in huge amounts become a source of carbs that get stored as fat.  Don’t quote me on this I don’t claim to be an expert, however, after reading Dr. Mark Hyman book, “FOOD, What the Heck Should I Eat” and Dr. Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint” I feel confident.  The aforementioned carbs are called simple and complex carbs.  Their composition determines how our bodies break them down for use.

Complex Carbohydrates

Bread, cookies, cakes, pies, rice, pasta, grains – whole or processed, legumes and other starchy vegetables are considered to be complex carbs mostly used for energy.  However, these contain long chain sugar molecules which are typically more than the body needs for energy and are sometime difficult to break down.  Once the body has absorbed all the nutrients and has used what it needs for energy that rest is stored for later use.  This would be ideal if you are noting going to have another meal for long periods of time.  However, in today’s society we eat every three to four hours and let’s not forget those in between snacks. We are fighting a losing battle, the amount of time it takes to turn food into carbs for fuel and use as a sustainable source of energy give us time to eat much more than needed.  The sugar trap starts the moment you put that bagel in your month.  Your body becomes even hungrier

The Lemon Pie or The Orange BOTH

for sugar.

Simple carbs are another source of energy; however, it is comprised of easy to digest sugars that are naturally occurring in most fruit, milk and meat. Simple carbs aren’t necessarily bad; however, these too can land a devastating blow to your digestive system.  For example, fruits and vegetables are superb sources of essential vitamins and minerals they obviously contain simple carbs composed of simple sugars necessary for good health.

Although fruits and vegetables are drastically different from other foods in this category such as cookies, cakes and pies which add refined sugars.    Fruit and vegetable fiber changes the way the body processes the sugars contained in them by slowing down their digestion, making them more akin to complex carbs.

fruit plate
Grapes, Apples, Cheeses, Crackers, Meats and Dip – ALL

Complex carbs are often considered “good” because the body takes longer to break them down. That means consumption of smaller doses of sugar being released at a steady rate instead of being dispersed rapidly with highs and lows throughout the day. There are complex carbs that are considered higher in vitamins, minerals and fibers.  These are quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats, amaranth, and other whole grains.  However, once grains have been processed they are no longer considered whole.  Whole means just that, nothing else – these nutrient dense complex carbs are a good source of energy and helps to maintain a balanced diet.   To understand whether or not carbs are good or bad takes a considerable amount of time.  It is imperative to read labels and understand food facts and how much sugar and fiber is contained in each food.  The rate of digestion and how much energy you need to more throughout your day are also key factors in determining what amounts each individual needs to consume daily.  What may be good for some can be very bad for others – know your body.  “Adrienne Vanterpool”

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