My mother has always struggled with weight. Food and her have a complex relationship. There is always something for her to learn about food and how it affects her. Learning about carbohydrates has been a little trying for her. I think because she has heard that there are some good ones and some bad ones. I wrote this post with her in mind.
- The Carbohydrate has really taken a beating over the last five, seven years. First they’re good, then they’re bad then some are good, some are bad. So, which is it and why does it matter to you?
Carbohydrates are made up of three ingredients : starches, sugars, and cellulose (roughage/fiber).When it comes to trendy weight loss diets, Carbs tend to be a bad word. Yet in other diets, Carbs are considered a healthy nutrient. Carbs are complex! … And simple, too. Carbs are BOTH good and bad. So, how is that?
It’s like this: Carbohydrates break down nice and slow or super fast. We want the Carbs we eat to be the ones that break down nice and slow because when we eat more of the ones that break down super fast, it will hike our blood sugar levels and our blood sugar levels for the day will look like a graph of seismic activity! See, all Carbs (good and bad) break down in our body and turn into glucose (a simple sugar) which then stimulates the creation of a hormone called insulin. The more glucose the body makes (esp. when we eat bad Carbs) the more it needs to make insulin. Insulin productions can get out of control and this can lead to diabetes type 2. This is why we want to know what Carbs are and why it’s important we know what kind of Carb we are choosing to eat.
In general, good Carbs are foods full of fiber – whole grains, veggies, fruits, and beans. Plant foods deliver a lot of fiber. Ask yourself what the fiber content is of the Carb you are considering. The more fiber, the better the Carb is for you.
In general, bad Carbs are foods that are highly refined and processed, where fiber is stripped away – white bread, white rice, and SUGARS! Refined white grains and starches and added sugars are considered bad Carbs.
Fiber is Awesome! The great thing about fiber (fibrous carbs) is that it slows down the absorption of nutrients and we want this slow down because then blood sugar levels (insulin production) remains stable rather than spiking all over the place. This may reduce your risk of diabetes (type 2). Also, certain types of fiber like that found in oats and beans can help lower blood cholesterol. It also helps us to feel full longer. Fiber does all of this for us despite us not being able to digest it!