Carbohydrates ( aka "sugars" ) are the primary energy source that our bodies require to fuel our bodies. The question is what and which carbohydrates have the best nutrients for our daily lives? The current trend of reducing or eliminating carbohydrates and replacing them with protein and fat has it's merits but is not the best way to manage your health. particularly if your working out and exercising on a fairly regular basis.
Current health treads recommend low carbohydrate foods as a means to control energy in relation to reducing bodyweight. This approach has some challenges, namely a low carbohydrate diet can result in excess ketones in our blood stream which can lead to ketosis.
This is a condition in which the body breaks down fats for energy. In the short term it works as this is a normal process of energy metabolism in the body. But , over long periods of time it is counter productive to our health. The long term breakdown of fatty acids in the blood leads to increased acidity of the blood. Which over time can damage your kidneys, liver and brain.
Carbohydrates are the only for foods that can pass into the brain. Therefore, reducing or eliminating sugars can be detrimental.
If you are eliminating sugars from your diet you may be experiencing these symptoms which may be an indicative that your body is in ketosis:
- Mood Swings
- Brain Fog
There are two different types of Carbohydrates:
The USDA recommends that 45-65% of our diets be comprised of carbohydrates with the balance remaining between protein and fats. If using this standard then we have to rate sugar uptake in relation to it's ability to be used readily by the body. The Glycemic Index is a measure of the ability for sugar to be absorbed into our blood stream. Various carbohydrates are rated on a scale of 0 - 100. For a full review of different carbohydrates rating on the Glycemic Index:
The complete list of the glycemic index and glycemic load for more than 1,000 foods can be found in the article "International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008" by Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, and Jennie C. Brand-Miller in the December 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, Vol. 31, number 12, pages 2281-2283.
Simple Carbohydrate ( High Glycemic Index, Rapid uptake )
- Table sugars sucrose
- Fruit sugar, fructose,
- Milk sugar, Galactose
Complex carbohydrates ( Low glycemic Index, Slow uptake )
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain
A balance of these sugars is what is required for a healthy diet. The rule of thumb is eating portion controlled servings of foods. This helps to minimize excess calories in your body. To preserve our energy throughout the day it is beneficial to combine carbohydrates and fats to balance your energy needs throughout the day. Below some examples:
- Sliced apple with nut or seed butter
- 1/2 a bagel with meat
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Spaghetti with meat sauce
- Sweet potatoes with chicken
- Cut Vegetables with hummus
These sample pairs will give you a balance energy to minimize hunger pangs throughout the day.
As you can see a healthy balanced diet containing equal pairing of simple and complex carbohydrates with associated pairing of fats and protein can go a long way to helping you maintain and sustain a healthy body.
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