What foods are carbs? At this point everyone knows to go easy on the bad carbs but you may not know why. The most important aspect of implementing a game plan for your diet is to understand why you do what you do, but can be an obstacle to your weight loss effort. To understand how they metabolize in your body and shed light on the carb mystery, read on..
Examples of carbs; here are three major kinds of carbohydrate:
Monosaccharides are simple sugars (glucose)
Disaccharides are starches
Polysaccharides can include more complex carbs
It is important to know that whether you are eating fructose, maltose, sucrose or lactose. These are all converted to sugar in your digestive system and then enter your blood stream as glucose. What is important is what volume and rate this occurs. This is where eating less carbs or having more complex carbs (good carbs) becomes very important.
The amounts of carbs are important when making food choices. When the body needs fuel, it uses the glucose that is broken down from all the carbs you eat, then once the carb stores are depleted it moves on to the fats. This is why if you have excess glucose in your body, your body is constantly using it as it fuel, never quite getting to the fat stores. In order for your body to begin burning fat you must limit your intake of carbs. Focus on lean meats, eat complex carbs in moderation and severely limit sugar.
The rate by which carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood is also important in terms of insulin release. If there is too much glucose in your blood or spikes of glucose which comes from easily digestible carbs like table sugar, insulin is released to control this elevation. Insulin spikes cause an increase in fat synthesis, causes your hunger to come back quicker and causes your muscles to resist insulin. When you read about the Glycemic Index, it indicates which food cause the least spike in insulin.
Most berries are low sugar, resulting in steadier insulin release. Complex carbs and high fibrous veggies also top the list.
There are psychological effects of certain carbohydrates like sugary foods or all the “white” goods are responsible for many of the sugar highs, brief blasts of energy and temporary comfort . These feelings of pleasure can become somewhat addictive and can be continually sought out during stressful times. In addition once you have a taste you want more and this leads to overeating.
My all time favorite carb is cellulose, better known as fiber. It is really a miracle when it comes to its activity in the body. Fiber is not digestible and exits your body intact, but while its in there it works wonders. It cleans your system of toxins and excess waste. It slows the release of glucose when combined with other carbs, makes you feel full longer and keeps you regular. Can you ask for more?
Need a simple way to snack without loading up on sugar? Check out this guide on Paleo style desserts and snacks.
Here’s my video, Meals For One! Fruits and Vegetables (the good carbs)
Fiorella DiCarlo RD, RDN, CDN