Let’s Talk About Carbs

Everyone who has tried any diet knows that cutting carbs can be one of the most effective means of losing weight. However there is often a misconception that all carbs should be abhorred. In fact there a different types of carbohydrates that all have various benefits on consequences on your body. It is important to be able to distinguish these differences, so that you can eat the carbs that will actually work with you to lose weight, rather than hold you back.

In essence, carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories. There are simple carbs, which are often found in refined sugar, enriched flour, and other processed foods. Then there are complex carbs, which are found in whole grains, or beans. The simple or complex label refers to the structure of the sugar molecule – complex carbs take more time to digest, providing a more healthy and lasting boost of energy. With simple sugars on the other hand, your body quickly uses up the potential energy in the food, giving you that sugar high that everyone knows about. The difference between these carbs is often referred to as the glycemic load, which is essentially how the energy in the food is distributed in your body. The longer and more sustained the release is, the better it is for your health since it reduces spikes and falls in blood sugar.

Working good carbs into your diet isn’t as hard as you would think! In fact it is a relatively simple change in lifestyle over most other dieting techniques. Most simple carbohydrates can be substituted for a equally tasty complex carb counterpart. For instance, when given the option, always pick whole wheat, or whole grain breads over white bread. Avoid anything that contains the highly misleading ‘enriched’ modifier. Enriched white rice or enriched wheat flour is actually just a grain that has been dehulled or dehusked, leaving only a starchy sugary grain with empty calories. Good alternatives would be brown rice, or whole wheat pasta.

Lastly, some foods will, inevitably, have no substitute. Soda drinkers will need to either give it up entirely or switch to the diet equivalent. For me, I replaced my soda with home brewed ‘sun tea’, which I drink unsweetened. This is a great way to cut the simple sugars from soda out of your diet. Simply throw a few teabags in an clear covered pitcher and set it in the sun for an hour or two. This makes delicious iced tea, that isn’t bitter and a good refreshing substitute to soda.

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