Good Carbs, Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of foods - bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches. The basic building block of every carbohydrate is a sugar molecule, a simple union of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Some contain hundreds of sugars. Some chains are straight; others branch wildly. The digestive system handles all carbohydrates in much the same way - it breaks them down (or tries to break them down) into sugar molecules, since only these are small enough to cross into the bloodstream. It also converts most digestible carbohydrates into glucose (also known as blood sugar), because cells are designed to use this as a universal energy source.
Carbohydrates are not the root of all evil. They are needed as a chief source of energy and nutrition. But what type of carbs are you eating and how much? Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are necessary and crucial to consume. Refined grains offer very little in the way of nutrition and can cause insulin resistance over time. Whole grains digest slowly and therefore insulin is secreted in a slow and even way. When we eat too many white-flour or refined-sugar products, we cause insulin spikes. Too many years of poor diet and little activity and exercise will lead to type 2 diabetes, something becoming all too common in today’s world. This disease was once known as mature onset diabetes since it occurred later in life. Today this is no longer the case, and it is even being diagnosed in kids in their early teens and younger. Don't be misled by fad diets that make blanket pronouncements on the dangers of carbohydrates. They provide the body with the fuel that it needs for and for proper organ function, and they are an important part of . But some kinds of carbohydrates are far better than others. Here are a few tips from the Harvard School of Public Medicine on how to include carbs in your day:
labels.Try a hot cereal, like whole oats, or a cold cereal that lists a first on the ingredient list and is low in sugar. But finding sugar in cereals takes a bit of detective work. Learn how to be a savvy reader of
Confused about how to find a whole-grain bread? Look for bread that lists as the first ingredient whole wheat, whole rye, or some other whole grain - and even better, one that is made with whole grains, such as 100% whole wheat bread.
An orange has two times as much fiber and half as much sugar as a 12-ounce glass of orange juice.
For most people, weight gain happens over a long period of time. It’s not difficult to consume 50 calories a day more than you need or than you use. That will give you a 5-pound gain per year. Keep that up for a number of years, and you will be obese. For example, in 20 years, that will give you a 100-pound weight gain. If we have determined that the low-carb, high-protein routine is not only ineffectual, but also possibly unsafe, how do we go about this daunting task of losing weight?
Naturally, each person has his or her own individual tendencies regarding weight loss. But the general rule to follow is this: fewer calories in and more calories expended. Let’s take the case of a client of mine (name has been changed). Shira led a very sedentary lifestyle. At five feet two inches, she weighed almost 250 pounds. Driving almost everywhere, opting for the elevator instead of stairs, and choosing to stay inside after her long day at work instead of walking, Shira was only burning as many calories per day as her body used for basic functions (resting metabolism). Besides all that, she was eating large amounts of food, and the foods she chose to eat were calorie dense. Realizing she was slowly destroying herself, she came to us and began a weight-loss, physical-fitness program.
Shira began with a twenty-minute walks each day. At the same time, she cut her caloric intake and made healthful choices for her meals and snacks. Her food program was balanced and included mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthful fats and lean protein choices. Keeping up this routine and refining and intensifying it as she became more fit and able to do more, she lost 115 pounds over eighteen months. Today (almost 8 years later) Shira’s body mass index, the index most widely used by doctors to measure overweight and obesity, is just within the healthy range. At the same time, all of her nutritional requirements are met on a daily basis. And she eats carbs while doing it!
To recap: Fad diets just don’t work. Any diet or food program that is based on the elimination of entire food groups and obsessively eating only certain foods is harmful to you, and for most people in the world, it is unsustainable. Eating right is hard work. So if you don’t want to be one of those people who lose significant weight and gain it all back and more, it is worth the effort, as the rewards of good health and longevity are certainly well worth it.
Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a LIFESTYLE FITNESS COACH with over 17 years of professional experience. He is the co-director of the Jerusalem-based weight loss and stress reduction center Lose It! along with Linda Holtz M.Sc. and is available for private consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at email@example.com Check out the Lose It! web site - www.loseit.co.il US Line: 516-568-5027