Carbohydrates are the bodys main source for energy. Eating the right amount and type of them is key. The “low carb” movement has gained notoriety not because carbohydrates in their purest form are harmful but because eating them in excess can cause weight gain. The bodys capacity for storing carbohydrates for energy is very limited. When you eat more carbohydrates than your body needs (without burning them off), your body will STORE THEM AS FAT. As I said before, we all need carbohydrates for energy, but we need to consider the sources.
EATING MORE CARBOHYDRATES THAN YOUR BODY NEEDS WILL PUT YOUR BODY IN FAT STORAGE MODE INSTEAD OF FAT BURNING MODE, REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY CALORIES YOU ARE CONSUMING.
HERE IS A LINK to an amazing podcast on insulin and fat loss. Listen to it this week. It will completely change the way you look at carbohydrates!
When you eat processed carbohydrates (bread, bars, cereals), the food has already been somewhat broken down by the processing. Because of this, your body doesnt have to work very hard to break these foods down. When you ingest processed carbohydrates, yourblood sugar spikes quickly which causes a fast rise in insulin. Insulin helps to bring the blood sugar down, but it is also your bodys FAT STORAGE HORMONE. When your body has more energy than it needs and you do not use that energy, your body can store it as fat for later use.
Even processed foods that do not appear high in sugar (pretzels, baked chips, tortilla chips, cereal) are still high on the glycemic index. This index is a measure of how high and how quickly a food will raise your blood sugar. Eat these foods moderately, but get most of your carbohydrates from FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!
Blood Sugar Spikes
Even if you are eating the right amount of calories, having blood sugar spikes and high insulin levels can keep you from losing weight. Some people find that they can lose weight by decreasing high carbohydrate choices and replacing them with vegetables,EVEN WITHOUT CHANGING OVERALL CALORIE CONTENT.
Try not to be fooled by the granola bars that are all over the grocery stores now with added protein. Adding protein to a high sugar item does not get rid of the excess sugar that is in these foods.
Total carbohydrate content matters as all carbs (even those not listed as sugar) eventually turn to sugar in your body.
Look at the back of your yogurt container as well. Greek yogurt can be a better choice than regular yogurt as it usually has higher protein. Pay attention though as some Greek yogurts (with fruit on the bottom) have as high as 19 grams of sugar compared to 7 grams in the plain version. Some of the sugar comes from the fruit as it is not yet mandatory that companies separate natural sugar from added sugar on the label, but processed fruit in yogurt will still raise your blood sugar. You can buy plain and flavor it yourself.
If you make a lifestyle of eating a diet high in processed carbohydrates, you can develop insulin resistance. When the cells are resistant to insulin, it takes more sugar to give you the same energy result which can lead to increased sugar cravings. Early signs of insulin resistance can be seen in the form of high cholesterol and high blood pressure before it ever shows up on a blood sugar test.
Natural sources of carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) are broken down more slowly by the body. They still cause the blood sugar to rise, but often not as quickly. If you get the majority of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, you can significantly decrease your carbohydrate craving cycle and insulin spikes. Eating protein with your fruits and vegetables has been shown to keep blood sugars more steady.
Also try to be aware of the sugar in lattes. Even lattes with low calories or those labeled sugar free can have 20-45 grams of sugar depending on size. Most of the sugar comes from lactose (milk sugar), but it is still important to be aware that this sugar still affects blood sugar.
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- Substitute one of your regular processed carbohydrate servings with a fruit or vegetable. Start with one per day this week. Next week, try replacing another. Try to start with dinner. This doesnt mean that you will live a life without carbohydrates. Getting the majority of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables is an extremely effective tool for weight loss.
- For great ideas about how to start begin decreasing processed carbohydrates without crazy withdrawal symptoms, check out the I Love My Carbs meal plan. This plan is a great guide for those who are struggling with where to begin to moderately decrease carbohydrates