In the day were nutrition information and research are so abundant, it still baffles me that there is still so much misinformation out there about what ‘healthy eating’ actually is. I was just reading the other night in one of my nerdy health books that a lot of doctors are still recommending their diabetic, overweight, and obese patients to cut back on sugars but to keep eating carbohydrates.
The Funnel of Misinformation
To give you a snapshot of why this is wrong (and yes, I’m calling out your doctor and mine on this one) during digestion our bodies breakdown grains, wheat, simple, and complex carbs into glucose which our body uses for energy. Glucose, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a sugar that our body can readily use to perform work. The downside is that if we don’t use that glucose while it is moving through our bloodstream and into our system, our bodies store it for long term energy.
Initially, this isn’t bad because your body stores some of the glucose you are consuming gets stored in the muscles and the liver to perform work later. The bad news is that when your glycogen stores fill up, the rest of the excess glucose that you are consuming is stored as bodyfat. That’s why you are holding onto all that unwanted weight and fat that you have been trying to get rid of!
Medication is Easier than Change
Now let’s get back to our doctor. It is so much easier for him to tell you that you are at risk for diabetes and then just medicate you, tell you to complex carbohydrates, and eat less sugar than to tell you that you need to change your eating habits completely. Coaching you and all the rest of his patients through that would be too time consuming and frustrating. Therefore the pharmaceutical companies capitalize on your inability to make that change by selling you a drug that will only stalemate your problem, not make it better. We are meant to think that the pills will make up for our bad eating choices, but it only gets worse from there.
To Set the Record About Carbs
I’ll be the first, and hopefully not the last, health professional to tell you that carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad. We just make the wrong ones a high priority in our diet when we shouldn’t be. Remember the food pyramid? Thank God they finally changed it to choosemyplate.gov, which is still off base, but shows that we are getting more knowledgeable about macronutrients and portion sizes (carbs, fats, and proteins).
If you look at our average plate of food, a whopping 50-75% of our meals are composed of rice, breads, pastas, pastries, and cereal. No wonder why we are in a bodyfat and blood sugar dilemma
So what are the healthy kind of carbohydrates then?
The Good Carbohydrates
Did you know that vegetables and fruits are considered carbohydrates? If you didn’t, I’m so happy that I could just knock your socks off with that exciting piece of health nerd information. Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates that are packed with soluble and insoluble fibers (Carbohydrates) that are great for digestion. They are nutrient dense, filling, and you don’t have to worry about spinach, kale, apples, and blueberries storing on your body as belly fat. You would have to eat 12,000 blueberries in one sitting for that to happen, and then you would probably turn into one like that girl in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
Keep in mind that all all calories are not created equal. Do you think that 2,000 calories of fruit and vegetables will look the same on your body as 2,000 calories of pasta and chocolate? Not in the slightest.
Carbohydrates and Cravings
When we think of comfort foods we often think of bready meals, gooey desserts, starches, and baked goods that bring a lot of wonderful familiarity and warmth to our palate. So of course we WANT them because they are comforting to us, but there is science at work behind these cravings that you might now realize.
When your body digests foods like breads, cheeses, and sugars our brain actually releases natural opiates (warning: this is your brain on drugs) that make you feel rewarded, satisfied, and relaxed. Seriously, food can be a drug, and we love the feeling that it produces. So what do we do? Eat more of it when we are sad, on vacation, are bored, or in good company to make us feel good.
But Don’t You Need Grains for Energy?
That’s what has been perpetuated for years, but the reality is no. If you stick with vegetables and fruits for your carbohydrates, you are going to have plenty of energy and you are going to feel better too. Ever notice how pasta, pizza, and heavy sandwiches or big, grain carb dense meals can drag your energy levels down?
That’s because when you eat simple carbs in excess (as listed above) your blood sugar shoots through the roof! That only lasts for a brief period of time while your body works on producing insulin to shuttle all that excess glucose out of your blood stream and into long term storage as glycogen and fat.
You won’t really get this with vegetables and fruits. They are going to digest much more slowly so that you have the opportunity to use them for energy before your body even has the chance to store them.
Other Sources of Energy
Did you know that the only macronutrients that are absolutely essential for our survival are proteins and fats? No joke! That’s where you should be getting your energy from. Drop the bagels, chips, breads, pastries, and pastas, that lead to carb crashes, and grab some avocados, almonds, cashews, healthy oils, and nut butters.
Keep in mind, bad fats like saturated fats and trans fats aren’t good for you and will cause weight and fat retention, high cholesterol, etc. Healthy fats are necessary for survival, energy, proper brain function, and digestion.
Tips and Tricks
So the next time you are craving your favorite grains and wheat based products, reach for a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or seeds. The natural sugar in fruit (fructose) will satisfy your sweet tooth and the salty quality in the nuts and seeds will satiate that want for breads, pastas, etc. Load up on healthy proteins and vegetables during your meals, and cook your veggies in some extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil to give you an added energy boost.
via The One Big Diet Mistake That is Keeping You From Losing Fat | TrainerJack.com.