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Why Refined Carbohydrates Are Bad For Your Health
- We need carbs for energy and to keep our bodies working but we need to be more selective in choosing those carbohydrates we do eat.
- The better choices are complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fiber-rich vegetables because these items have not been as greatly refined and because they tend to all be higher in fiber content, they take longer for your body to digest.
Although low-carb diets were all the rage just a few years ago, most nutritional experts are now steering patients away from such an approach to weight loss. The reason is simple: carbohydrates are not the enemy. In fact, we need carbs for energy and to keep our bodies working but we need to be more selective in choosing those carbohydrates we do eat. By making a conscious effort to our eating habits, we can actually enjoy carbohydrates in moderation without throwing our diets off track or putting ourselves at risk for diabetes.
Good Carbs Bad Carbs
You may have heard some people discussing good carbs and bad carbohydrates in the media or on the Internet. The distinction is made because some of the carbohydrates available are going to be better choices for your body than others. In general, refined carbohydrates are going to fall under the “bad” umbrella.
Refined carbohydrates, sometimes known as simple carbs, are easier for your body to digest because they have been processed many times already. Anything made with refined flours or sugars, such as pastry or white rice, would be examples of bad carbs. These foods go through your body quickly leaving behind a positive shot of energy but they leave you wanting more quickly.
The better choices are complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fiber-rich vegetables. Because these items have not been as greatly refined and because they tend to all be higher in fiber content, they take longer for your body to digest. That means you’re going to feel full longer and that the energy content of the foods will be more slowly released into your body. Also, anything that takes more energy to digest is going to boost your metabolism a little more which is a definite plus if you’re interested in weight loss.
One exception to the rules above is fruit. Most fruits are actually classified as simple carbohydrates. However, they are still an important part of your diet because of all the nutritional elements they contain, including vitamins. With fruits though, you want to choose fresh produce choices over juices and canned varieties so you can minimize the amount of refined sugar you are consuming and also benefit from the fiber found in the different fruits.
The Question of Alcohol Carbohydrates
One cause of confusion for many people who are concerned about their carbohydrate intake is the role of alcohol. For a long time, people were told that high levels of alcohol carbohydrates could raise blood sugar levels. However, that’s not the case. Because of the way alcohol interacts with your liver, it can actually decrease your blood sugar which could be dangerous, especially if you have not had anything else to eat.
That doesn’t mean alcohol is a good choice. While a drink or two in moderation may be fine occasionally, you do need to remember that these drinks are full of empty calories and contain no valuable nutrition. It’s the same as drinking sugary soda in that regard. Plus, if you do have diabetes, alcohol consumption can make many of your symptoms worse and can increase the damage from complications of the disease.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Healthy Eating Habits24 Dec 2008|