The Truth About Carbs
If you are thinking about starting any sort of diet or meal plan then you are probably familiar with the term “carb” or “carbs”, and no doubt you have seen diets that recommend low carb and others that say carbs are fine. One of the common positions that nutritionists discuss is that of good carbs versus bad carbs. So what I’ll try and do is put into plain words the basic facts about carbs and how understanding the difference between good and bad carbs can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
A “carb” is actually short for “carbohydrate.” From a nutritional point of view carbohydrates are generally those foods that contain high levels of either starch or sugar. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into a simple sugar called glucose and this glucose is then released into your bloodstream. For example, if you are hungry and you eat a chocolate bar then you will feel energized almost immediately. What you may also have noticed is that the “sugar rush” wears off pretty quickly and your energy levels will start to flag pretty quickly. However if you had eaten a piece of fruit instead, you would still feel energized but you wouldn’t feel the effects as quickly, nor would you notice your energy levels slipping as quickly.
The difference between good carbs and bad carbs
Good carbs produces their energy more slowly and last longer while bad carbs release their energy much more quickly and leave you feeling hungry soon after, this means that if you have to eat more often to sustain your energy levels then you are going to consume more food. And if this food have the same level of calories then the bottom line is that you will consume more calories overall.
Bad carbsWhen you consume bad carbs your body releases large amounts of glucose into your bloodstream very quickly. This large amounts of glucose can be too much for the body to use (unless you are being incredibly active) and this causes the release a chemical called insulin that mops up all the excess glucose and deposits it as fat for use later. Even if we have stored fat away for later use, we still feel hungry and demand for something else to eat, and this means we don’t burn off the excess fat.
Now if you consume good carb, the body breaks it down much more slowly and hence releases glucose into your bloodstream in a much more controlled rate. Your body is able to cope with this lower blood glucose level and therefore there is no need to release the insulin and therefore doesn’t cause fat deposits.
List of good carbs diet
Fruits and vegetable have good carbs and micronutrients.
Green vegetables are undoubtedly the best “good carbs.” Most all ‘leafy’ vegetables and fruits are good carbs and are beneficial. Good carbs also include beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. Oats are very rich in beta glucans which absorbs cholesterol.
Whole grains have high fiber content — they make you feel full.
The bran is the nutritious outer coating of the grain containing fiber, niacin, vitamin B 6 and minerals. It is removed in the refining process leaving white flour. Whole grains are good carbs. The bran and germ are not removed. Whole grains contain phytochemicals such as lignans, flavonoids and polyphenols. Whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice and oatmeal make you feel full, and often include vitamins and antioxidants.
There is no need to give up a good thing we’ve got going. One of the reasons carbohydrates have a bad rep is because of how we have messed with Mother Nature. The whole grain that we harvest have a lot more nutritional value and fiber than the processed grains we eat out of boxes and bags.
When we think of whole grains we often think of primarily of whole grain wheat. But whole grains go far beyond wheat. Listed below are the “ancient grains” that loaded with nutrition. Variety is great, so mix it up a bit and try them out.
- Amaranth: Amaranth is not really a grain but is actually a seed with a mildly sweet, nutty flavor. It can be popped like popcorn, cooked for cereals, or ground into flours. Amaranth is high in protein, B vitamins and minerals.
- Barley: There are 2 types, pearled and hulled. Pearled is the process version of barley, it is easier to cook because the outer husk has been removed. Hulled barely is chewier and more nutritious than pearled. It is used in flours and is also used for making alcohol.
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat is not technically a grain but actually a distant cousin of rhubarb. Kasha is the form of buckwheat when roasted. It is commonly found in flours for noodles, pancakes, breads and other baked goods. It is high in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and copper and has a great nutty, sweet flavor.
- Kamut: This grain is full of energy which is great for athletes needing more calories. It is also high in protein, selenium, B vitamins, potassium, and zinc. The rich buttery flavor makes for great flours. Kamut can also be found in its berry form which goes well in soups and casseroles or toppers for cereals or salads.
- Millet: This sweet, nutty grain can be popped like popcorn, fermented for beer, or made into flour for cereals. It is one of the least allergenic grains and is rich in B vitamins and copper.
Benefits of good carbs
You will be healthier and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Good carbs:–
- help you stay full for a longer time and avoid overeating
- provide nutrients, natural vitamins and phytonutrients
- stimulate metabolism naturally
- lower your cholesterol levels
- help remove toxins
- with a lower glycemic index, they help stabilize blood sugar levels and insulin production
- provide sustained energy
- promote healthy fat loss