Carbohydrates, are they really our enemies?
Carbohydrates, are they really our enemies?
Many people are afraid to eat carbohydrates. They claim that carbohydrates make them fat and bloated. Is this true?
It’s definitely worth answering the question, but let’s first understand what carbohydrates are?
The word carbohydrate means sugar, so sugar is synonymous with carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are made of carbon and water molecules and their role is to supply fuel to our bodies. Without sugar, our bodies cannot exist, especially our brain and nervous system – same thing.
There are also different types of carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrate, which is basically simple sugar. Examples include white/ brown sugar, honey, fruit, candy, etc. This type of carbohydrate causes a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and then a sharp decrease resulting in a short-term saturation of about 20 minutes. Due to the rapid increase in sugar in the bloodstream, the body secretes insulin from the pancreas in large amounts to put all the sugar into the cells and to balance blood sugar levels. Some of the insulin that is excreted in large quantities remains in the bloodstream and serves as a hunger hormone, so when you eat a cookie or fruit, most of the time there is a desire for more.
A complex carbohydrate = as it sounds is a carbohydrate composed of many simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates break down and release into the bloodstream more slowly than simple carbohydrates. This allows for slower absorption of sugar in our bodies, leaving us satisfied for longer. In addition to carbohydrate is made up of fiber-filled fibers that our body does not have the capacity to break down, for example, cellulose, which is full of vitamins and minerals. The nutritional grandparents cause absorption of water (just like a sponge) and this gives us a feeling of prolonged satiety. Examples of complex carbohydrates with dietary fibers are whole grains, whole wheat bread, buckwheat, oatmeal, pulses such as lentils, white or red beans, etc.
Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates found in foods that are high in calories, low in nutrients, do not contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber. Empty carbohydrates are usually highly processed (they are prepared in a factory), contain chemical additives, sugars, and non-natural supplements. Examples of empty carbohydrates (get ready for a long list):
Sugar cookies, chocolate cookies, jams, syrups and sweetened sauces.
Ice cream that contains chocolate chips.
Salty and crispy snacks like chips.
Soft drinks – carbonated or sweetened.
Chocolate bars, candied snacks, rubber candy.
White bread does not include sugar but does not offer a special nutritional value.
Fruit juices – they are nutritious, but most of them contain tons of sugars that do not fill us up because they are lacking in nutrients. Drinking calories is one of the easiest methods to accumulate fats. There is nothing better than water for the body.
Breakfast cereal – not all, but most of them which is why you need to check the amount of sugar.
Pastries – many people start their morning with coffee and a cookie, or cookies, or croissants of all kinds. The amount of sugars in these pastries is unbelievable.
Should I continue??
So with that long list of food we should stay away from, what’s left to eat?
Everything, but with awareness and the right amount.
I always check nutrition values before I buy, and try to minimize as much damage to my body as possible.
Since I do not eat meat or chicken, most of my diet consists of complex carbohydrates.
I regularly eat lentils, whole rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, and vegetables like peas, carrots, and pumpkins, since they are also considered complex carbohydrates. Of course, everything is in the right amount and quantity.
I rarely eat simple carbohydrates and only those that are filled with minerals, vitamins, fibers, and have few calories. For example, I eat two servings of fruit per day with natural honey or royal jelly to sweeten.
I admit that it is not always 100%, sometimes I “fall too,” but I try to completely avoid eating empty carbohydrates (carbohydrates that are composed of just sugar and calories, nothing else). I try my hardest but every once in a while I fail and sneak a bite or two from a pastry or candy.
One thing I have understood for sure though is that as long as I’m aware (a keyword) and think of eating those empty carbohydrates as “stealing them” I still maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and tone my body.