Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carbohydrates

First of all, Happy December. Christmas is catching up fast. Are you all ready for it? We've got snow on the ground here and it really feels like winter.

Today's Weightloss Wednesday again. We’ve discussed fruits, veggies and proteins so it’s only right that we discuss carbohydrates in a healthy diet.

In the past few years, carbs have gotten a bad rep. We’ve all seen those high protein/low-or-no carb diets. They’ve been popular for quite a while. Carbs aren’t the villain. As with anything, they just need to be eaten in moderation and there are some that are better than others.

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient and they’re easily converted into energy by your body. Glucose, which is a sugar, is essential fuel for the brain. Obviously carbs have their place in a healthy diet.

As I mentioned, some are better choices than others. As a rule, the more natural and unrefined it is, the healthier it is. A low glycemic index (GI) is also an indicator of a good choice.

The GI classifies carbohydrates by their immediate effect on our blood sugar. Carbs that are converted to glucose very fast have a high GI value. Those that metabolize slowly have a low GI. Here’s a link to the Glycemic Index so you can check out your own choices.

So what are good carbohydrate choices?

1. Fruits and vegetables. They’re usually low in calories and high in nutrients.
2. Whole grains. Unrefined carbs are higher in fiber and keep you feeling full longer. Companies are making it easier for us with whole grain pastas and noodles and brown rice. Choosing wholegrain bread when possible is another way to make better choices.
3. Potatoes. These have higher GI values. New white potatoes are better choices, but sweet potatoes are the best of all. I’ve even seen sweet potato french fries in the freezer section. Potatoes are fat-free and their higher GI can be reduced by eating them with other low GI foods as part of the same meal.

How many do we need? If we’re making smarter choices and eating less refined carbs, anything between 40 and 60 percent of your daily calories can come from carbs. Lower carb is fine, but try to avoid the very low carb diets except for very short periods of time. Yeah, remember when I said glucose was food for the brain? ‘Nuf said.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with carbs. I loved them and they loved me back since they wanted to stick around, but I hated how my body looked. These days, I’ve got a better self-image and I’m making better choices. I’m learning that anything is okay in moderation.

What about you? How do you feel about carbs? Have you done the very low carb diets? How did you do? Would you do it again?

3 comments:

LaVerne Clark said...

Snow on the ground? It sounds so wonderful! We have blazing hot, sunny weather at the moment. Our first day of Summer. Wanna swap for a while? : )

Just wanted to be the first to say - HAPPY RELEASE DAY - from a fellow Jewel of the Night : ) I've bought yours already, and started reading it, but had to put it down because of the demands of children! Now it's my time, so I'll see you later, I'm off to enjoy a good read!

LaVerne

Linda Morris, Romance writer said...

I avoided the low-carb craze because I figured it would be impossible to stick with. But I'm high risk for type II diabetes and now have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic at age 39, so I'm learning to refigure what I consider impossible. A healthy diabetic diet is not extremely low in carbs, but you do have to balance carbs with fiber, fat, and protein to slow their absorption, and to pick and choose your carbs carefully. Obviously, fruits and veggies, legumes, and whole grains are better choices than white flour and sugary foods. When I switched to this type of diet to manage prediabetes, I lost about 22 lbs. almost effortlessly. My weight loss has stalled and I'm still about 20 lbs. overweight, but I'm much better than I was. It's not that hard to do, either. Like you say, moderation in all things.

lizarnoldbooks said...

Thanks for the glycemic index link. Been looking everywhere for it!
Liz Arnold
Message to Love
The Wild Rose Press

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