The basics –
Our bodies need fuel to continue to work properly and do all of the amazing things we want to do. That fuel comes from protein, fat, and… you guessed it – carbohydrates! The amazing thing about carbs is that they instantly break down into sugar/glucose that the body is able to use immediately. Glucose is super important for your body; it’s also the type of fuel that your brain uses. When we aren’t getting enough carbohydrates the body decides to break down fat for fuel which sounds like a GREAT thing right? Not necessarily… When the body uses fat for fuel, ketones are formed. Ketones raise the level of acid in your blood, and that can be unhealthy over long periods of time. Think about this next time you are planning on restricting or taking carbs out of your diet completely. Removing major food groups from your diet is a BIG DEAL and should only be considered when recommended by a licensed dietitian or your primary physician.
Simple versus Complex –
REMINDER: There are no good and bad carbs; everything is OK when eaten in moderation.
Simple carbohydrates: Easily broken down by the body, raise blood sugar levels quickly, include foods like candy, pastries, and desserts.
Complex carbohydrates: Take longer to be broken down by the body which raises blood sugar levels more slowly than simple carbohydrates, include foods like multigrain bread, pasta, beans, potatoes, other vegetables.
We want our blood sugars to stay as consistent as possible, meaning we need to be including more complex carbs into our diet. A good rule of thumb to live by would be to fill HALF of your plate with complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, & dairy) and keep simple carbs to a minimum.
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