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Monday, June 28, 2010

What carbs should I eat?

Generally speaking you should focus on carbohydrates that digest slowly and thus provide a sustained and slower release of sugar into the bloodstream.  Thus the focus should be primarily on vegetables, particularly those with a variety of colors so you can maximize the nutrients you are getting.  Foods such as mixed lettuce greens, squash, beans, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli etc.  Carbohydrate foods you should eat in small quantities are most fruits, grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams and so forth.  The reason being is that these foods turn quite quickly to sugar in the body and cause unstable levels of blood sugar and thus energy.  Additionally, because most of us are relatively sedentary we very easily overeat these items which causes the excess calories to be turned into fat.

A good rule of thumb is if you are going to eat fruits or starchy carbs (i.e. potatoes) to do so in small amounts and eat them early in the day.  Along with this you should make sure to always eat some type of protein/fat with these foods to slow down there affect on your blood sugar and thus energy levels.  You want stable levels of blood sugar, not abrupt ups and downs that lead to afternoon fatigue followed by binging on more sugar.....once you get on that roller coaster it's hard to get off of it.

Yes, it may take awhile to get used to not eating these higher sugar foods but after your body adapts (which should only take a couple weeks) you will find you feel much better and have higher energy levels, not to mention the fact that you will probably notice yourself losing body fat.

One last point, the real danger zone for many people when it comes to carbohydrates is with beverages (juice, soda, smoothies, etc.)  You can consume a large number of calories very quickly when you start drinking things that taste good and are easy to consume fast.  Just do a little investigating by reading labels on juice, soda or other beverages and you'll see that all you are doing is drinking liquid sugar which equals body fat.  If you drink diet don't think you are off the hook, plenty of studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are very damaging to your body and cause you to eat more because your body tastes the sweetness but isn't getting calories, so your brain says keep eating.

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