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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Carbs - Good vs Bad

A carbohydrate or "carb" is a special type of calorie which contains extra energy. They are the major source of fuel for the body and individual cells. Thus avoiding all carbs will leave you feeling tired and dragging your feet. However, when we generate more energy (eat too many carbs) than we burn through activity, we store those carbs as body fat. Let's address what constitutes a good carb vs. a bad carb.

Good carbs have these healthy characteristics:

  • High in fiber: helps you stay full longer (and avoid overeating), provides sustained energy, lowers cholesterol levels, helps to remove toxins from the body
  • Low in sugar: stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production
  • High in nutrients: natural vitamins and minerals promote health and help to prevent chronic disease

These include whole vegetables, whole fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grain cereals and bread.

What are "bad" carbs?

"Bad" carbs are refined, processed carbohydrate foods that have had all or most of their natural nutrients and fiber removed in order to make them easier to transport and more 'consumer friendly.' Most baked goods, white breads, pastas, snack foods, candies, and non-diet soft drinks fit into this category.

What happens when too many "bad" carbs are taken in?

Because these foods cause your blood sugar to rise excessively, your body is forced to over-produce insulin to process it. When too much insulin is produced, then fat storage increases as well.

But if you eat good carbs (instead of bad carbs) then your blood sugar level will not skyrocket after each meal, and thus you can burn fat and lose weight much easier. Plus, you'll feel energetic all day on a more even level, without the "highs" and "lows".

In my opinion....

Since I love bread and pasta there is no way I am going to avoid them in my diet. However, I do try to maintain a higher activity level to make up for it so I can burn the extra sugar and calories. Also, I am going to eat the veggies and fruit on my plate first to help curb my appetite so I don't have the second helping of pasta. YUMMM!

(Thanks for the post idea Kylene!)

1 comment:

Kylene said...

Awesome info Keisha. I love this fitness blog! You are brilliant. :)