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The Truth About Carbohydrates!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

I read this article today and had to post it, in case some of you don't get a chance to see it, so I thought I'd blog it, enjoy!!!


It’s true. A carbohydrate-rich diet can inflate appetite and girth. Low-carb diets do promote short-term weight loss, but are accompanied by some severe dangers. So what should you do? The truth is, you can have your carbs and eat them too—you just have to know how to choose them.

The Truth about Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the body's ideal fuel for most functions. They supply the body with the energy needed for the muscles, brain and central nervous system. In fact, the human brain depends exclusively on carbohydrates for its energy.
Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy products, foods made from grain products, and sweeteners such as sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup.

The body converts digestible (non-fiber) carbohydrates into glucose, which our cells use as fuel. Some carbs (simple) break down quickly into glucose while others (complex) are slowly broken down and enter the bloodstream more gradually.
During digestion, all carbohydrates are broken down into glucose before they can enter the bloodstream where insulin helps the glucose enter the body’s cells. Some glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for future use, like fueling a workout. If there is extra glucose, the body will store it as fat.
All carbohydrates are not created equal.

There are basically three types of carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates are composed of 1 or 2 sugar units that are broken down and digested quickly.

Recent research has shown that certain simple carbohydrate foods can cause extreme surges in blood sugar levels, which also increases insulin release. This can elevate appetite and the risk of excess fat storage.


Complex carbohydrates (also referred to as starch) are made up of many sugar units and are found in both natural (brown rice) and refined (white bread) form. They are structurally more complex and take longer to be broken down and digested.

Complex carbohydrate foods have been shown to enter the blood stream gradually and trigger only a moderate rise in insulin levels, which stabilizes appetite and results in fewer carbohydrates that are stored as fat. Unrefined or ‘whole grain’ carbohydrates found in products like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bran cereals are digested slowly. They contain vitamins, minerals and fiber which promote health. Fiber and nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits and beans which are carbohydrates also have many important functions for the body and are important for good health.


Indigestible carbohydrates are also called fiber. The body is unable to breakdown fiber into small enough units for absorption. It is therefore not an energy source for the body but does promote health in many other ways.
Simple carbs, complex carbs, and fiber are found in many foods. Some provide important nutrients that promote health while others simply provide calories that promote girth.


Sugar, syrup, candy, honey, jams, jelly, molasses, and soft drinks contain simple carbohydrates and little if any nutrients.
Fruits contain primarily simple carbohydrate but also valuable vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.
Vegetables contain varying amounts of simple and complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.
Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and soybeans contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Milk products contain simple carbohydrates along with protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Grain products contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. The amounts vary depending on the type of grain used and the amount of processing. Selecting whole grain options whenever possible is recommended.
What You Should Know About Low-Carbohydrate Diets
Following an extremely low-carbohydrate diet is disastrous, dangerous, and above all—boring! Carbohydrates are NOT the enemy. Including the appropriate amounts and types of carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet is essential for long-term health and weight loss/maintenance.

The Body’s Immediate Reaction to Very Low Carbohydrate Diets
When there is a severe deficit of carbohydrates, the body has several immediate reactions:

With no glucose available for energy, the body starts using protein from food for energy. Therefore this protein is no longer available for more important functions, such as making new cells, tissues, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies and the regulation of fluid balance.
When carbohydrates are lacking, the body cannot burn fat in the correct way. Normally carbs combine with fat fragments to be used as energy. When carbs are not available, there is an incomplete breakdown of fat that produces a by-product called ketones. These ketones accumulate in the blood and in the urine causing ketosis, which is an abnormal state. Ketosis does cause a decrease in appetite because it's one of the body's protection mechanisms. It's an advantage to someone in a famine (which the body thinks it's experiencing) to lack an appetite because the search for food would be a waste of time and additional energy.
Due to the lack of energy and the accumulation of ketones, low-carb diets are often accompanied by nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, bad breath, and dehydration.
Because of dehydration and a lack of fiber, constipation can result.
Exercise and fitness performance is reduced on a low-carb diet. Do not be surprised if your energy level is so low that you cannot make it through your normal workout routine.
The Long-Term Effects of Low Carbohydrate Diets
When you severely restrict carbohydrates, your consumption of protein and fat increases, which has several long-term effects:

The risk of many cancers increases when fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, and beans are eliminated from the diet.
Protein foods are also high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid. Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood may lead to needle-like uric acid crystals in joints, causing gout.
Kidney stones are more likely to form on high protein, ketosis-producing diets.
Over time, high protein diets can cause a loss of calcium and lead to osteoporosis.
The risk of heart disease is greatly increased on a low-carb diet that is high in protein, cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat. A temporary reduction in cholesterol levels may be experienced, but this is common with any weight loss.
The Million Dollar Question
How do you include carbohydrates in you diet in a safe, effective, and controlled way? The “Please KISS Me” (Please Keep It So Simple for Me) plan for carbohydrate control is a wonderful tool that only contains 3 simple rules:

RULE 1: Include the following in your diet:

Fruits: 2-4 servings daily
Vegetables: 3-5 servings daily
Whole grain breads, muffins, bagels, rolls, pasta, noodles, crackers, cereal, and brown rice: 6-11 servings daily
Legumes, beans and peas: 1-2 servings daily
Low-fat and non-fat dairy products: 3 servings daily
RULE 2: Limit the following to less than 2 servings daily:

Fruit Juice
Refined and processed white flour products (bread, muffins, bagels, rolls, pasta, noodles, crackers, cereal)
White rice
French fries
Fried vegetables
RULE 3: Eliminate the following from your diet or eat only on occasion:

Sugary desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, candies
Doughnuts and pastries
Chips, cola and carbonated beverages
Sugar, honey, syrup, jam, jelly, molasses
That’s it! A simple, effective carbohydrate-controlling plan that, when combined with your SparkDiet, allows you to reap the countless benefits of complex carbohydrates and fiber while enhancing your health and maintaining a healthy weight. The long term result will be a healthy you!


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo DDEAN79
    Good read
    3170 days ago
  • TO.BE.58
    Awesome Blog thanks for posting this!
    3888 days ago
  • LIFEHASCHANGES
    Go girl. I think this is actually the article that had the link to the site where I just won second place in the photo contest from the whole grains contest. I blogged about it if you want to see what Im talking about... Cant miss it- big words "I WON". But yeah I LOVE carbs! And spark has gotten me on the road to carb success. I have read some info that whole grains are linked to lower BMI and body fat percentage. I so believe this- there is actual studies to prove it- but I was telling someone the same thing I read about myself before I saw an independent claim. the fact that I have less fat around my middle now that I had nearly eliminated refined grains from my diet. There is very little refined flour that gets into my food, occaisionally I buy something and it is made with both whole grain and the regular stuff- but I shoot for 100% whole grain items now. And there you have it- a thinner middle while at the same weight I had achieved during an old weight loss. Amazing.
    God bless-
    Mrs. K

    P.S. techincally I am an amateur duathelete. I love riding my bike- I have a oic of me and my newest one on my page- and I have also developed a strong drive for jogging. I just realized I almost jogged a 5k last night for my cardio. Interesting teams u r on.
    4016 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3375540
    Great blog!
    4166 days ago
  • FITGIRL15
    I can't agree with ALL the negatives regarding a low carb diet! If this is true that cutting carbs will harm you, then how can millions of diabetics do it over their entire life and manage to maintian healthy bodies? Your body adapts to a special diet and can function very well on lower levels of carbs, I've found!

    ...I believe I have learned A LOT from being introduced to the diet of a diabetic! Not to mention that I feel and LOOK better when eating lower carbs!

    I disagree that 6-11 servings of complex carbs in a healthy range... that's REALLY high! I eat 5-6 servings when I'm maintaining mode and 1-3 when I'm leaning. Any more then that and I just feel heavy!
    4179 days ago
  • ROCKIN_V
    Thanks for the info! emoticon
    4179 days ago
  • KSTYLEFITNESS
    I'm a little late ready this but great stuff!! I just noticed that your macros are 20% carbs, 30% fat and 50% protein. That's extremely low on the carbs and way too high for protein unless you're specifically building muscle and bulking up. I thought the 40/40/20 ratio was better for fitness athletes? Least that's what my trainer had me doing.
    4179 days ago
  • MISSDIANITA
    Me too! I'm going to re-blog/post this! It's really useful info - Thanks for sharing!!
    4181 days ago
  • TRAINER_T
    Thanks girl, I am going to re-blog this!
    4185 days ago
  • SUGAHSUGAH
    This blog came at a great time for me. Thanks so much for posting it! I have been struggling this week to understand how much carbs I should be having and which ones. Great read! Thanks!
    4190 days ago
  • IRNGIRL
    It sounds good but even when I'm eating a lot of carbs I don't think I get 6-11 servings. That seems high unless you're loading for a race.

    Thanks for posting. emoticon
    4190 days ago
  • INSPIREDTOBEFIT
    Thanks for all this info! You're the best! :)

    Allyson
    4190 days ago
  • ITALIANLADY247
    I believe this is from Nancy Clarks book. I just started reading it and this section was great. Thanks for sharing!
    4190 days ago
  • GRAMMACRUISER
    Thank you for sharing this. i think I understand or at least will remember it better now. emoticon
    4190 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2255969
    Thank you for that! It really is about balance isnt it?
    4190 days ago
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