carbsCarbohydrates are probably the most misunderstood, most talked about and consequently the hardest to deal with of all nutrients. There has been that much conflicting advice put out there over the past ten years that most people simply don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. So keep reading, because for once and for all I am about to set the record straight on how you should go about including carbohydrates in your diet. And, I will state right from the outset that you will NOT get fat just by eating carbohydrates!
The problem is that carbohydrates have got themselves the nasty little tag as a ‘fat storing’ nutrient. The fact of the matter is that if you eat too much of ANY type of food, your body will tend to store it as fat.
So, the truth is that of course carbohydrates CAN make you fat just like over consumption of any other food group. What you have to ensure is that you get your carbohydrates from the correct food group and in the right amounts. Let’s face it, your body needs all sorts of different foods in order to operate at full efficiency, so carbohydrates should not be anything to be worried about. As long as you stick to a couple of basic guidelines, you won’t go wrong with your carbohydrate intake.
First – Don’t eat too much carbohydrate. This should be a straight forward lesson to understand and put into action because it applies to everything you eat! If you take on board more calories than your body requires then you will start to store the excess as fat. Carbohydrates are a source of food for your muscles and your brain, but the body can only process so much at a time. You should aim to make around 45% – 55% of your total daily calorie intake carbohydrate based.
Second – Source your carbohydrates wherever possible from natural high fibre foods and whatever you do avoid refined carbs. All carbohydrates when broken down by the body end up as a type of sugar called glucose and this is what your body uses as fuel. However, your body is more efficient at breaking down some foods than others. As a general rule of thumb, the faster the body is able to break it down, the more likely it is that it will end up being stored as fat. This is mainly because your body may not be ready for the fuel at that point in time. It can only use
so much at a time remember? If it isn’t ready to use it immediately, then it will store as fat. Also, if your body absorbs a large amount of carbohydrate over a short period of time this can stimulate the production of insulin, which slows down your fat burning metabolism and so fat storage is encouraged and you also get the added side effect of food cravings.
As I said, avoid refined products such as white rice, white bread, sugary cereals and anything made from white flour. The refining process removes all the bran and germ turning the product white. The trouble is, that by removing these things, a lot of nutrients have also been removed making them more likely to be processed quickly by the body and stored as fat.
So, make sure you get your carbohydrates from unrefined sources, such as fresh vegetables, especially green vegetables, oatmeal, whole grain bread cereals and rice, sweet and normal potatoes, fresh fruit, yams, and low or non-fat dairy products. All of these items have all of their original goodness left intact and are broken down more slowly by the body when eaten as part of your normal meals.