Healthy Carbs Vs Unhealthy Carbs
Carbohydrates have become an “evil” word in the dietary world. Since the advent of low-carb/high-protein diets 20+ years ago, much has been written about the dangers of carbohydrates. The truth is that the body needs carbohydrates in order to function properly. Carbohydrates are used to create glucose, which provides the energy needed for digestion and cellular respiration.
Two Types of Carbohydrates: Simple and Complex
White sugar, sugar products, white flour, and foods with sugar added during processing are simple carbohydrates that are dangerous to your health. These simple carbs are broken down into glucose quickly (one-step) and give the body a quick burst of energy, which also drops quickly – creating huge spikes and drops in your blood sugar. These are the ONLY carbohydrates you need to avoid – this includes sodas, energy drinks and so called “healthy” diet shakes and concoctions.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to beak down into glucose (two-steps) and as a result provide a longer-lasting source of energy and are necessary for good health. Complex carbs can be found in whole, unrefined grains and cereals, most vegetables (especially potatoes and carrots) and some fruits. Complex carbohydrates also contain fiber, which prevents or relieves constipation, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
One of your primary health goals should be to eliminate processed foods from your diet with all the extra sugar, fat, and salt. Once you do, you will be surprised at how much food you can actually eat without exceeding your calorie allotment.
For example: An average doughnut has 175-250 calories, but a pint of fresh strawberries has only 116 calories (and you probably won’t eat them all). “But,” you say, “strawberries are more expensive.” I agree, they are; but, when it comes to your health (as with all things), you get what you pay for.
What you should really be worried about are the cumulative negative effects that doughnuts have on your health. When you eat one or two doughnuts a day over a year’s time, I guarantee that you will gain weight, become more lethargic, and begin to crave more and more junk food; plus, you will be putting yourself at risk for far more serious health problems.
On the other hand, strawberries will be beneficial to your health because they are not only low in calories (so no weight gain), they are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Changing your eating habits from an overabundance of simple carbohydrates to a diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates will make you healthier instead of putting your health at risk. The other benefit many people do not factor in is that the change to a healthier diet may also save you money by eliminating the need for doctor’s visits, medications, etc.
Choosing healthy complex carbohydrates over the unhealthy simple carbohydrates will always pay off!