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Monday, February 23, 2009

Complex Carbohydrates Verses Simple Carbohydrates


Many people struggle with the idea of carbohydrates, since carbs have such a bad wrap now days. What people need to know is there is a difference between a good carb and a bad carb.

Carbohydrates are your body's primary source of energy. Your system needs carbs to sustain itself. Carbohydrates are necessary to your health, because every cell in your body uses them for energy. In fact, your brain can only use carbohydrates for energy. However, eating the right Carbs, is what is essential to your body's well being. Understanding the difference will help you to make good Carbohydrate choices to bring your body to better health.


Simple Carbohydrates

Are exactly what they sound like- Simple Sugars. Simple Carbohydrates are quickly changed to glucose in your body. Glucose, that's a fancy word for sugar. Simple carbohydrates are made up of one or two sugar molecules linked together. The truth is that the simple carbs are bad because your body processes them too quickly and therefore turns all that energy to fat. Over-consumption of sugar and other highly refined carbohydrates has been associated with a higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even breast cancer. Sugar and other simple carbohydrates can alter your mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in your blood-sugar levels, and cause weight gain in most people. Some forms of simple carbohydrates include; glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and galactose (the sugar found in milk). Simple sugars are used as ingredients in candy, ice cream, cookies and other sweets. Plus they occur naturally in fruits and lesser amounts are found in vegetables.

Examples of Simple Carbohydrates are:

White Four
White Sugar
Corn syrup
Fruit juice
Candy
Cake
Bread made with white flour
Pasta made with white flour
Soda pop, such as Coke®, Pepsi®, Mountain Dew®, etc.
Candy
Most baked goods made with white flour
Most packaged cereals


Addressing the Simple Carbs in Fruit:


Fruit does contain a natural source of sugar called fructose which will need to be monitored especially if you tend to easily gain body fat from too many carbs. If your main goal is to lose large amounts of body fat, you definitely don't want to eat an unlimited amount of fruit. Although fructose is rather low on the glycemic index, I recommend not eating it after 6pm and limit it to a few portions throughout the day. The best thing to do is monitor your body fat levels and use the mirror along with weekly photos of yourself to really see how your body is changing. If you see that your adding too much body fat, then cut back on the fruit and focus more on vegetables like lettuce, kale, cucumber, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, squash, zucchini and green peppers, swiss chard. These fibrous carbs contain very low amounts of calories and carbs which are the key to losing body fat.



Complex Carbohydrates


Complex carbohydrates are more slowly digested keeping your body's Glycemic Index lower. Thus not spiking your blood sugar levels and allowing your body to digest and absorb the important life giving nutrients in the foods we eat. It also allows our body to use the foods we eat for energy and not just store it as fat. Complex Carbs are found in high-fiber foods, which improve your digestion. They help stabilize the blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level, and help you feel satisfied longer after your meal.

Examples of Complex Carbohydrates are:

Spinach
Whole Barley Grapefruit
Turnip Greens
Buckwheat Apples
Lettuce
Buckwheat bread Prunes
Water Cress
Oat bran bread
Apricots, Dried
Zucchini
Kale
Spinach

Nuts
Seeds
Oatmeal
Kiwi fruit
Cherries
Pears
Asparagus
Oat bran cereal Plums
Artichokes
Muesli Strawberries
Okra
Wild rice Oranges
Cabbage
Brown rice Grapes
Cucumbers
Rye
Pinto beans
Sweet Potato
Bananas
Dill Pickles
Mushrooms
Soybeans
Radishes
Skim milk Lentils
Broccoli
Navy beans Garbanzo beans
Brussels Sprouts
Cauliflower Kidney beans
Eggplant
Celery
Peppers
Snow peas
Green lentils
Chic peas

Soy milk
Soya beans
Kidney beans
Lentils
Squash
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Green beans
Onions

Tomato Soup
Lentil Soup
Multi grain bread
Whole meal spelt bread
Split peas




Complex carbohydrates should be a major part of your diet; about half of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates -- mostly from grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables. Choose a piece of fruit instead of fruit juice, which is very high in naturally occurring simple sugars. Choose whole grain breads instead of white bread. Choose whole grain oatmeal instead of packaged cold cereals.

Making simple healthier choices through out the day will bring you closer to a healthy you...

*Remember that the closer you get to nature, the closer you get to health.

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