Diet and Exercise Tips


The Truth About CARBS

Last updated Mar 14, 2009
         carbohydrates
With all of the fad diets out there including those that suggest restricting carbohydrates, or removing them from your diet completely, you may be left wondering...
What is the truth about CARBS?
You NEED carbohydrates, but you need to choose them wisely.  Current guidelines suggest that carbohydrates represent of 45 - 65% of your diet.  Like protein, all carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. The following guide will help you select the right types of carbohydrates to properly fuel your body and help you achieve your weight-loss goals.
There are two types of CARBOHYDRATES:
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES     
(you may hear these referred to as the "good" carbs ... because they are!)
These kinds of carbs:
  • metabolize slowly in the body
  • keep your blood sugars steady for longer
  • keep you feeling full for longer
  • maintain your energy levels
  • fuel your brain
  • help you achieve a healthy body weight
  • provide vitamins, minerals and fiber important to health
... COMPLEX CARBS can be further broken down into two categories:
1.STARCH
                 photos of different types of foods
  • easily digestible
  • must be broken down before your body can use it as glucose 
  • has a major impact on insulin levels
STARCH can be found in:
  • starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and corn
  • legumes (dry beans)
  • breads, cereals and grains
  • vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods
2FIBER
              photos of different types of foods
Most carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars molecules and converted to blood glucose by the digestive system.  However, FIBER is treated differently.  These carbohydrates pass right through the body, never being broken down into sugar.  
These undigested fibers:
  • carry LDL "bad cholesterol" out with them
  • move food through the intestines to promote regularity
  • help protect against colon cancer
  • boosts immunity by improving intestinal health
  • decreases risk of Type II Diabetes
  • great for satiety and weight loss!
You will see fiber listed as soluble or insoluble.  You need BOTH types.
SOLUBLE fiber is found in:
  • oatmeal
  • oat bran
  • nuts and seeds
  • most fruits such as berries, pears and apples)
  • dry beans and peas
INSOLUBLE fiber is found in:
  • whole wheat bread
  • barley
  • brown rice
  • couscous
  • bulgar or whole grain cereals
  • wheat bran
  • seeds
  • most vegetables
  • fruits
HOW MUCH DIETARY FIBER DO YOU NEED?
Americans need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day...
    ...but most Americans are only consuming about 15 grams per day!

Easy Dietary Fiber Estimator

Daily calorie

needs

Daily dietary

 fiber needs

1000

14 grams

1200

17 grams

1400

20 grams

1600

22 grams

1800

25 grams

2000

28 grams

2200

31 grams

2400

34 grams

2600

36 grams

2800

39 grams

3000

42 grams

*See "Tips for Increasing FIBER in Your Diet" section.
SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES
            photos of different types of foods
Found in:
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • milk and milk product
  • added sugars
Simple carbohydrates are found in both naturally occurring and added, refined sugars. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits and milk.  Added, or refined sugars are added during processing and are little or no nutritive value.  These carbohydrates are fast-burning and can potentially cause the blood sugar to spike and then drop, causing that horrible crash (or hitting-the-wall) feeling.
AVOID ADDED SUGARS! The majority of your carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates and naturally-occurring sugars.
Check your label for the following added sugars:

      Brown sugar

      Corn sweetener

      Corn syrup

      Dextrose

      Fructose

      Fruit juice concentrates

 

      Glucose

      High-fructose corn syrup

      Honey

      Invert sugar

      Lactose

      Maltose

       

      Molasses

      Raw sugar

      Sucrose

      Sugar

      Syrup

      Malt Syrup

 

 

For additional information on carbohydrates, please visit:

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