Sunday, April 24, 2011
Carbohydrates and Your Diet
Many diets call themselves “low carb” or “no carb” or “carb counting” because of their focus on limiting the carbohydrates consumed daily. Other diets talk about knowing the glycemic index of your foods. That term measures the reaction of your blood sugar to what you eat. In general terms, simple carbs have a higher glycemic index than complex carbs (starches and fibers), because your body readily digests simple carbs and requires your pancreas to secrete insulin very quickly to maintain a stable blood glucose level. Further, some complex carbs have a relatively high glycemic index ranking, such as potatoes and corn and are avoided by this type of diet.
Carbohydrates are important for good health, since they are your body’s main source of energy. The key to success is choosing your carbohydrates wisely. Try to feature high fiber fruits and vegetables. The fiber helps you to feel full before you’ve eaten too much, and the slower digestion rate helps your body to match your digestion to your energy needs. That means that you’re less likely to form fat cells. Include some whole grains so that you benefit from the selenium, potassium and magnesium that they contain. Limit your consumption of high fat dairy. There are plenty of low-fat and no-fat alternatives that taste great and reduce the saturated fat that can elevate your cholesterol level. And do stay away from simple carbs (sugars) to the degree possible. This will reduce fat production and tooth decay, a double treat!
So look past the buzz words and catch phrases when evaluating diets. Understanding the benefits and impacts of different types of food can make you a better eater and control your weight in a healthy way.