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Weight Loss
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The Carb. Sometimes it's simple, and other times complex.

I think it is time we de-mystify the CARB...

The Carbohydrate (sugars, starches,and fibers) is the main source of energy for the human body. It is the fuel that we need so that every teeny weeny cell in our body works effectively and efficiently. Just like our cars need fuel,  so do we. 

At the pumps, we have a choice. Unleaded, Supreme, and Ultra Supah Dupah! The difference you ask? OCTANE LEVELS.

In our cupboards, fridges and pantries, we have a choice too! Simple & Complex. The difference you ask? The GLYCEMIC INDEX.

Ah ha! Easy enough right? Well not quite. Sorry....

Digestion breaks down starches and sugars into glucose that is used to create usable high powered energy for our bodies. Fiber is not broken down, it acts as the body‚??s cleanser. We all know that if you eat a bran muffin for breakie, you will have to plan your day around the restroom.  In fact, the soluble (absorbs water) fiber found in beans and many whole grains may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Carbohydrates such as fibers and starches are known as ‚??complex‚??, and carbs such as sugars are known as ‚??simple‚?? basically anything with an "ose" on the end is a sugar. Though we hear that complex carbs are the good guys and simple ones are bad guys, in their natural state all carbs are great. Nature blends the simple and the complex and adds essential micro-nutrients for proper digestion and utilization of all the carbs, proteins, and fats.

To keep it simple, carbohydrates are considered simple or complex based upon their chemical structure (no I won't go into chemistry 101 on this). Both types contain four calories per gram, and both are digested into the bloodstream as glucose, which is then used to fuel our bodies for normal daily activity and exercise.  The main difference between simple and complex carbs is: 

Simple carbohydrates or simple sugars ‚?? These carbs are broken down and digested very quickly, but most simple carbs contain refined sugars and very few essential vitamins and minerals. Examples include table sugar, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, honey, molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar. 

Complex carbohydrates ‚?? The complex carbs take longer to digest and are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Examples include vegetables, whole grain breads, oatmeal, legumes, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

Okay great, so....what about those bad carbs everyone goes on about. Well, there are no really bad carbs, just highly processed carbs. All the hubbub stems from the ‚??refining‚?? (oh boy, that's a good one) of whole grains and sugar. In the early days of the Industrial Revolution we began to centralize the milling of grain more and more, and in order to ship it farther and have a much longer shelf life, the bran and germ were removed. (Think about it, when was the last time a white bread product went "bad", sheesh... it can last weeks.) This is not a good thing because the bran and the germ contained the fiber and nutrients. Then it was bleached and ‚??enriched‚?? (I love that) in an attempt to compensate for what was lost. Today‚??s sugar and whole grain refining process is even more chemically intensive and results in carbs that are fast burning sugars, and are the most nutritionally deficient carbohydrates on the face of the planet. EGAD!

So... how does this affect my desire to lose fat while still having energy to have the strength to meet the demands of my day?

Well, it is all science folks. Remember I mentioned the Glycemic Index? Well this was formulated for diabetics to help develop nutritional plans for patients. The glycemic index (GI) rates carbohydrate foods on how quickly blood sugar / glucose levels increase in the 2 - 3 hours after eating as the carbs are converted into glucose. Generally fat or protein doesn‚??t increase glucose levels.
Eating higher GI foods produces a rapid increase in blood glucose levels, triggering the pancreas to produces insulin. Insulin causes the body‚??s muscle & liver cells to attempt to store the excess glucose. Imagine insulin as a shuttle, moving glucose from just digested foods into storage. If the digestive system is pumping glucose into the blood stream quicker than insulin can move it into the muscles/liver or glucose stays high too long, the body will convert the excess glucose into fat. Eating lower GI foods produces slower glucose raise, little insulin & fat storage

So folks, when you eat (or drink) a simple carbohydrate or a simple sugar ‚?? whether it is a can of soda, a scoop of fat-free ice cream, or even a glass of orange juice ‚?? all of the ingested sugar quickly rushes into your bloodstream. You typically feel a quick rush of energy. Your body then promptly reacts to this sudden spike in blood sugar by calling on the pancreas to produce additional insulin to remove the excess sugar from your blood. And for the moment, you have significantly lower blood sugar as a result of the insulin doing its job, resulting in a sense or feeling of needing more fuel, more energy and more calories. And as you hit that residual low blood sugar, you begin to crave more of the quick-release, simple sugars, and hence you have just initiated the sugar craving cycle.

As this downward cycle continues, your pancreas continues to secrete insulin like a maniac while it simultaneously reduces its production of another hormone called glucagon. Things are going out of control here!! Why? What the heck is happening to me? Well, to be blunt folks,Glucagon production, as it relates to improving your body composition, is very important if your fitness goal is to lose excess body fat. Glucagon is the only hormone that allows stored body fat to be released into the bloodstream to be burned by your muscles as energy. And when the pancreas has to elevate its production of insulin while reducing its supply of glucagon, you are basically locking-in your excess body fat. Therefore, too much simple sugar intake dramatically hinders the process of reducing stored body fat.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand ‚?? and despite all the negative press they receive in some of the popular weight loss books ‚?? are actually your body‚??s preferred source of energy. When you consume the healthy complex carbs ‚?? the ones that have not been altered in a food laboratory ‚?? they are broken down into glucose molecules and used as fuel or stored in muscle and the liver as glycogen. When the body has an ample supply of glucose fuel and glycogen fuel storage, it can run efficiently. You will then have the energy to function at your best and provided the material that your body needs to reduce body fat and reach your health and fitness goals.

When you look for complex carbohydrate food choices to put into your body, seek out two subgroups of carbohydrates‚?¶starchy carbohydrates and fibrous carbohydrates.

Starchy carbohydrates include food choices such as brown rice, baked and sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown pastas and whole grains.

Fibrous carbohydrates include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, spinach and peppers and can also be found in most varieties of dark green leafy vegetables.

One more very important nugget of carbohydrate information to remember:  Do your best to seek out the complex carbohydrates that have not been processed in a food factory.

I hope this helps folks!!! Just remember, baked beans although a fibrous carb, may not be your friend before the next staff meeting... Trust me.... 
7 Replies (last)
This was a great lesson for me. Thanks for the info!
Wow, yet another great post. Thank you!
Well...that was an eye-full. Very helpful and informatie. Thank you for sharing this with us. Thanks to you I will have plenty of information to help my mom and myself of course.
All I ever wanted to know about carbs!  Thank you.  It's nice to have this information.  It really helps with my food choices, but also helps with the 'why'.  And LOL about the beans.  Does bean-O really work?
this is great, thank you

beans taken at lunch while at work, help you work faster, hence, no overtime. hehehe

I've always heard that a potato, once in your body, worked almost as bad as a simple sugar and was changed immediately to pure sugar.
I don't want to sound silly, but what about fruits???  I lover oranges, bananas, apples, all those things with lotsa carbs!!!!
7 Replies