One word strikes fear into the hearts of many dieters, body builders and Atkins junkies- Carbohydrates.
Beliefs about carb intake vary from the more the better, the fewer the better and none at all. What is the truth about crabohydrates? Can you eat them and still a) maintain your weight, b) lose weight or c) look great and feel great?
There are many studies and diets that go back and forth on the issue. Resources I am pulling from include:
–Mastering Your Metabolism– Jillian Michaels
–World’s Healthiest Foods– George Mjatlan
–The Metabolic Effect Diet– Jade Teta
–Making the Cut– Jillian Michaels
And from my Nutritional Counseling book. All the sources I use seem to be on the same page when it comes to carb use- Complex carbs versus simple carbs.
Simple Carbs are ones that are eaily digested, contain low amounts of fiber and nutrients, are usually enriched and are rather bland in color (think white/yellow)
These carbs are not as beneficial because the body zaps them into sugar and stores them or burns the sugar instead of body fat! Lame! Some of the more common sources to limit/avoid are:
White potatoes (Try a sweet potato!)
White rice (brown rice is delish and filling)
White pasta (sub for whole wheat/whole grain)
White flour (now you can get flour made out of just about anything- try grinding oats for your own oat flour!)
Refined Sugar (this one’s tough because it is in practically everything!! Read your lables!)
Fruit (Think tropical fruit like bananas,mangoes,pineapple,coconut,watermelon)
Corn (Again, used as a filler for most processed foods)
Crackers/whole wheat bread- This one deserves more than a side note. There are some good breads and crackers, but you have to read the lable!! “Whole wheat” does a number on a lot of peoples digestive systems and it is usually enriched which means it goes through a TON of processing, stripping and re-filling to get to you. Look for the words “whole grain”. If it doesn’t have it, skip it!
Now, let’s talk about the good stuff!! Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, are loaded with fiber and give you lasting energy with no blood sugar crash! They include:
– Whole grain breads (Try Ezekial, Daves Killer Bread…make sure it has “grain” instead of “wheat” in the ingredients)
-Whole Wheat pasta (still to be used in moderation, but a much better choice then white)
-Legumes (Which includes lentils and beans)
-Vegetables and fruits (think dark leafy greens and heavier, dense fruit like kale and apples!)
-Grains (Try wheat berries, spelt berries, quinoa, millet)
For every 1 gram of carbs, the body holds onto 1 gram of water! That’s a lot of water!! If your diet consists of mainly simple carbohydrates, think about how much water and salt you are holding onto! It’s that stored salt and water that causes cravings, sluggishness, headaches, puffiness, fatigue and more!
You can feel good about eating carbs! Here’s some tips to help you make the most of them:
-Again, if it’s white, don’t eat it!
-If it has the words HFC, Frusctose corn syrup, anything ending is “ose”, limit or avoid.
-Try to limit your carbs after 3 pm
-Don’t eat after 8, but if you must, eat protein, not carbs
– Sub protein for your pre-workout boost and have a small carb after your workout
-Drink plenty of water (up to half your body weight in ounces) to help flush out toxins and stored junk.
I hope this helps shed some light on the great debate. If you have questions or want more information, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.