Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Friday, April 8, 2011

Carbs: Hero or Villian?

It drives me nuts (pun intended) how carb-crazed our country has become. The ironic thing is that everyone thinks carbohydrates are the enemy, yet the snack food industry certainly isn't suffering. Nor are the white bread companies. And I have heard many diabetics talk about how they have to limit or eliminate bread from their diets altogether. (No, white bread and whole wheat bread are not created equal, nor do they create the same reaction in the body. I wouldn't recommend anyone eat white bread, let alone diabetics!) So few people seem to understand the importance of good carbohydrates in our diets--and what makes a good carb.

This is why I was particularly interested in reading last week's article on Word of Wisdom Living. As the author points out, "Carbs provide over 60% of energy calories around the world, almost 55% in the U.S." But, "Carbs have to be humble." However, "Factories thrive on cheap raw materials. The first industrialized products were sugar, polished rice, and refined flours. In each case vital nutrients were removed to provide white, sweet-tasting carbs with a long shelf life. Tasty but unnatural. These refined carbs introduced a new problem—blood glucose peaks."

"Real food stabilizes blood glucose and reduces the insulin level, which allows cellular fat to be burned for energy so we can have lean, healthy bodies."

The author goes on to talk about the truth about the Atkins' diet. But, he adds, "For most people, replacing factory carbs with farm carbs is the first step towards better health (and should also help with any excess weight)." Then what follows is a list of ways to return to whole, farm carbs, which are suggestions I repeatedly offer on this blog.

So if you, too, are unsure what constitutes a good carbohydrate, or how to incorporate these "hero carbs" into your diet (while leaving the "villian carbs" in your past), check out the website and read more...

1 comment:

Jenni said...

A year ago I would have agreed with you, but no more.
YES, there is a huge difference between whole grains and white/processed ones. However, there is reasonable research (and, in my case, personal experience) to indicate that a low carb diet--yes, low whole carb--feels better and contributes to lower weight. In my case, I have a (very mild) intolerance for gluten. I had never had 'symptoms' so far as I knew, and yet when I went off it for two weeks as a test, then when I started eating it again I found that if I eat more than a little wheat I feel bloated and ill. Yes, I still eat it, but I have been making an effort to keep my grain intake low, and if I overindulge I can REALLY feel it.
The primal blueprint recommends staying on the lower side with carbs (again, exclusively whole grains, but still low carb diet) and they say that higher carb diets contribute to weight gain and lower carb to maintenance or effortless loss. I know weight loss isn't something you're probably concerned about doing, but a lot of people are, and I do know that 5 baby pounds that had been hanging around have just melted off without my doing anything else.
I know that protein is what sticks to my ribs and helps me feel good. If I eat a grain-based breakfast, I am hungry again in an hour or two. If I have a couple of eggs I can go for hours. So we're moving away from carb snacks here, and it definitely seems to be working better for us.


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