There are fad diets on the market, which are based on the notion that carbohydrate consumption is bad and is making you fat. They suggest cutting carbs from your diet (sometimes for prescribed periods of time, then gradually adding them back in). This has been problematic and counter-productive for people who are trying to lose weight and become fit. It is an unhealthy Idea.
The truth is that the human body requires the consumption of carbohydrates in order to function normally. Carbs provide a critical source of energy that our bodies need, in order to perform any and all basic daily activities. Your body, being a miraculous entity of intelligence an self preservation, knows this. This is why when you are not getting enough carbohydrates, you are craving them.
You can guess why the low carb diet phenomenon in recent years has caused a world of weight loss disappointment. Cutting carbs may cause temporary weight loss, but it is impossible to maintain and inevitably, you WILL give in to your body’s craving to make up for lost carbs. The process of regaining the carbs will feel like a pathetic loss of control, which will likely make you feel badly about yourself and could start a nasty vicious cycle of eating badly, of-course causing all of the lost weight (and probably more) to return.
Cutting carbs from your daily nutrition routine causes lowered brain functioning, fatigue, listlessness and a general lack of energy and motivation, not to mention probable digestion and other related problems and missing out on the many health benefits from consuming nutrient rich, fibrous, healthy carbs. The trick is; there are carbs that are very good (and necessary) for you and there are carbs that are very bad for you and will thwart your progress. You need to know the difference.
Bad Carbs are the highly processed and “simple” carbs, which are sometimes also referred to “high glycemic index” carbs. Unfortunately for us, items containing these carbs are the most prevalent and easiest to find in mainstream grocery stores. This is not an accident, these products are cheap for major food manufacturers to produce and easy to to sell to an unknowing consumer. Many times they are even marketed as healthy lifestyle foods. They are called “simple” because by the time you ingest them, they have already been highly processed and broken down in order to make them seem more desirable to consumers and to extend their shelf life.
What happens when you eat them? The short story is this: You’re feeling hungry, you eat a simple, highly processed carb filled meal (extreme example, a plate of Kraft Dinner and a slice of white bread). There are grains in the pasta and bread, but they’ve been processed so finely that you’d never be able to tell they they contain anything that ever looked like a grain or a seed.
Your body is designed to do the work of digesting whole grains as part of your natural healthy diet. This process normally takes a few hours and you feel satiated until you’re done and it’s time to eat again. But the Kraft dinner and white bread are already broken down when you eat them, so digestion occurs almost instantly, leaving you almost immediately hungry again. Now, to sustain you through your day, you have to eat something else. What should you have now? More high calorie, low nutrient, highly processed carbs to get you through another 15 minutes? Certainly not.
Consume foods (carbs included) which are as close as possible to their original natural state and let your body do the work of digesting and pulling nutrients from them, the way it is designed to do. Give yourself foods that will keep you feeling strong and satiated for extended periods, so that you are not constantly grasping around for quick fix, high fat or sugar little gremlins that are killing your fitness efforts. You want to have real and sustained energy to get you through your days.
Here are some quick healthy living tips on what carbs eat and what to avoid:
Eat: Whole grain breads and pastas (not multi-grain, WHOLE GRAIN). Stone ground breads are okay too. Long grain or basmati rice. nuts and seeds (almonds are fantastic, but almost all nuts are very healthy in moderation). Old fashion rolled oats are a great choice for breakfast, but NOT the kind you get in the little individual packets. Low sugar granola with lots of nuts and seeds. Homemade treats i.e. muffins, granola squares, even cookies containing whole wheat or whole grain flour (of-course eliminating fat and sugar where possible). Fresh (not canned) fruit. Fresh or frozen vegetables.
Avoid: White bread and white bread which has been artificially coloured brown, to appear more healthy (yes, they do this). Highly processed white pasta. Sticky white rice. Just about every variety of cereal out there (remember stick with things that are still in their original natural state). Anything made with white flour (cakes cookies, breads, pastries). You can find better (and probably tastier) versions of these things in health food stores and local health conscious bakeries. Juice (eat the fruit). Sugar (cut out as much as you possibly can from your diet).