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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Carbohydrates are they truly EVIL?

Everyone has heard the bad press that Carbohydrates has received over the last 10 years.  How could you not have followed the Atkins craze or the South Beach Diet, or the Zone that allot of Hollywood stars rushed to try.  With all of the press about Carbohydrates I have learned through all of my medical courses in College a few things that I wanted to share.

Carbohydrates are the bodies ideal fuel for most functions.  Yes you heard right.  They supply the body with energy needed for the muscles, brain and central nervous system.  In fact your brain relies solely on Carbohydrates for its energy.  So when you are thinking of going on a low carb diet please keep this in mind.  Your brain does not function well without them.

Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy products, foods made from grains, and sweeteners such as sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup.

There are three basic types of carbohydrates; simple carbs that are broken down quickly and complex carbohydrates that are broken down slower over time.  There are indigestible carbs that are considered fiber.  Simple carbs are the ones that can cause extreme surges in our blood sugar, and increase our appetite.  These are the ones that our bodies store as fat.  The complex ones enter our blood slower and actually can control appetite and increase our sugar levels more slowly, which lowers the amount of sugar that is stored as fat.  

Some of you may have had a nutritionist through your surgeons office that helped you to understand this concept, and perhaps some of  you did not.

I just want to say again to everyone, Carbs are not all bad or evil as they have been portrayed.  The simple carbs need to be monitored very closely, the others you need to add and eat each and every day.  For those of us who have gone on low carb diets, you found that certainly you will lose weight.  In fact, it will melt away.  Why is this?  Well there is a scientific reason for it.

With no glucose available for enegry the body uses protein from food for fuel. Therefore this fuel is no longer available for more important functions such as making new cells, tissues, enzymes, hormones and antibodies and the regulation of fluid levels.  When carbohydrates are lacking our bodies cannot burn fat in the proper way.  When carbs are lacking the body incompletely breaks down our fat and a by product is produced call ketones.  When the body begins this process you are thrown into a state of famine.  The body believes it is useless to  search for food, and will waste energy so your appetite goes away.  You will get bad breath, become dehydrated and nauseous, dizzy and extremely fatigued you will even become constipated.  Your work outs will not be as productive either, you may find you do not have enough energy to complete the workout.    A person that is on a low carb diet will also be at higher risk for kidney stones and heart disease and even cancer.

So bottom line is to eat your carbs, just keep them in check with your daily allowance and be sure there is a variety of them in your diet.  It is hard for people with the band to eat carbs, when we are instructed to eat our protein first.  We usually become full,and have trouble getting in those vegetables, but it is so imperative that you do.

So the next time you hear the TV ads and see the books and spokes person for that wonderful low carb diet, think again!


Beth said...

Over the years we have heard so many different stories over what is good, what is bad. Eggs are the devil, high in cholesterol! Fat makes you fat! Carbs are evil, eat steak instead! I know there will be another fad, but I just don't care. I truly believe that a well balanced diet along with moderation is key. The only problem for me is following that diet!

Cece said...

so agreed ... and for me - once I start with bad carbs ... I just want more :(

MandaPanda said...

I agree with others. It's really about moderation and balance. My daughter is learning the food pyramid at school. While it's different than I learned it (isn't everything these days), it still suggests more grains than anything else and that bugs me. I can't do low affects my moods too much but a good diet of starchy veggies and fruits along with the roughage and protein really give me a lot of energy and I just feel BETTER. Great post!

Beth Ann said...

Interesting post! I try to stay away from my trigger foods, which include many carbs, but then I get carbs from other ways. I agree with the other comments that moderagion is the key!