Most of today’s post is pretty common knowledge, but I am posting it anyway. Every now and then we need a little reminder… reinforcement!
As far as nutrition is concerned, carbs are my Achilles heel. I love bread, and I LOVE sweets. So a good reminder every now and again of which carbohydrates are actually good for our bodies is just what I need.
And for those of us trying to lose weight, it is especially important to eat SLOW carbs, rather than no carbs at all. Tall mountains and deep valleys in insulin and blood sugar levels, which occur when we eat the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, can lead to weight gain.
What are the wrong kinds of carbohydrates? The kind that the body almost instantly breaks down into sugar: a baked potato, white rice, chocolate cake, pastries, etc.
Intact or minimally processed carbohydrates yield slower, lower, and steadier increases in blood sugar and insulin levels. Additionally, they deliver more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential to the environment. Processing totally changes the character and content of grains, making them easier to chew and digest, and less perishable. Unfortunately, processing strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins and 70% of its iron, not to mention 90% of its Vitamin E and all of its fiber.
So… the secret to eating carbs? Picking carbs that digest slowly- whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies- that create slower, steadier changes in blood sugar and insulin. The quality of the carbs matters so much more than the quantity, because our bodies need carbohydrates; they just need the right kind of carbohydrates.
Here are some quick tips for eating carbs:
-Switch to whole grains… whole grain cereals, brown rice instead of white, whole wheat crackers instead of Saltines. Look for the “whole grain” seal on packaged goods before purchasing them. It looks like this:
-Do not skip the pasta. Pasta is a great alternative to mashed potatoes and white rice, especially if you choose whole-grain blends.
-Eat beans, which have only a small effect on blood sugar and insulin.
-Of course, eat lots of fruits and veggies. They have only a small effect on blood sugar and insulin, and deliver soooo many healthful nutrients to the body.
-Switch soda and juice for water, since soda and juice deliver empty calories, and sugar without nutrients.
Making a switch to “slow carbs” has changed my quality of life completely. I still splurge on sweets, but where they used to be an everyday splurge, they are now just an occasional splurge. I have more energy during the day, sleep better at night, and feel better about myself since replacing most of my “bad” carbs with good ones!