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by Brandi

Today I am going to talk a little bit about carbs because for reasons that I do not understand some "experts" would like to try and fool the public into believing that carbs are bad and will make you fat. While I think it is hard to deny that in the past 20 years we as a species have generally gotten fatter, carbs are not the villain as much as convenience foods are, and yes this includes so called fitness products such as certain protein bars (which is more like a chocolate bar with some protein in it).

Carbs are both extremely simple and a little complicated, depending on how you look at it. First the simple part: Whatever you eat comes out looking the same right? Well, all carbs, when broken down to their basic components during digestion are essentially sugar. Yes, even salad. So it doesn’t matter if you eat an apple, or a potato or a piece of celery, all of these things when said and done will be sugar. There is nothing evil about this as the body uses sugar as its primary fuel source. So when we are talking about people who exercise regularly or are athletes, carbs are extremely important for performance.

Fruits and veggies

 The complicated part: What makes you fat is insulin. When you eat carbs, and the sugar enters the blood stream, the body will compensate by releasing insulin to shuttle the sugar into the liver and tissues. Whatever is left over when the cells are full is turned into fat. There are 2 reasons why your body would get fat from carbs,

1. Your carbs are digested so quickly there is a surge of sugar in the blood stream, and a surge of insulin to compensate

2. You eat more carbs than your body needs (portion control). It’s like putting too much gas in the car and having it spill all over the ground.

Fixing issue #1 is relatively easy; this is the reason why veggies have a good rep over starchy foods like rice and potatoes, because they digest SLOWER. You will not get a surge of sugar from veggies because they literally take hours to break down. This is because of the FIBER in them. Fiber slows digestion. Protein also slows digestion. So if you are going to eat fruit or starchy carbs, you had best eat them with a protein in the same meal, maybe even protein and a veggie.

Fixing issue #2 is also easy, stop eating so much! Eat smaller meals more frequently, and eat a protein with your meal first. This is why when you go out to restaurants they always serve salad first. Salad is high in fiber and slow digesting, it helps fill you up slightly before the main course so you do not over eat. With carbs you can eat and eat and never feel full so it is easy to eat too much.

Also be careful with some starchy carbs, if it grows in the ground it is ok. If it is manmade, it is dangerous to your waistline.

starchy foods

 Above is an assortment of the most common starchy foods. Bread & Pasta should be reserved for the cheat meal or once in a while special occasion kind of thing. It should not be a dietary staple. Whole grains, rice, potatoes, corn, peas, yams, etc. These are excellent starches that can be in the diet all the time.

Anything with white powder in it is not going to be nice to your digestive system (flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.). So it is not "starches" that are "bad", again it is just most convenience foods that are made with these items. The reason, once again is that it is already broken down (refined), therefore the body does not have to do much work, it is quickly absorbed (too quickly), and some people have developed a slight intolerance to these refined products. It is not quite an allergy as much as sensitivity. For most people it makes you retain water, which translates into looking "puffy".

Finally I am going to talk about juices. Having said all of this, how much sense do you think these juicing diets make? Sure, they are full of vitamins and minerals, and as such many antioxidants. But don’t be surprised if it makes your pant size go up. It takes a lot more liquid to feel full than it does solid food. How many calories do you think are in juice? How fast do you think that sugar is going to hit the blood stream when all the fiber (pulp) is removed? Think about it.


So to recap:

-Stay away from the white powdery stuff

-Eat fiber and protein first

-Be aware of the calorie and sugar value of juices

If you have any questions or comments I am available here, on Facebook, or via email.


Brandi Burns