What Are Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are starches that turn food into energy. If you’re not active, then the carbs you take in turns into sugar causing your blood sugar to elevate. These foods contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that burn fuel in our bodies.
What Kinds of Foods Have Carbohydrates
Starchy foods are found in potatoes, bread, rice, and whole grains. When eating foods high in carbohydrates, you want to eat less of them and eat more meat, poultry, fish, small pieces of fruit and vegetables. We need 50 grams of starches per day. If you exercise, then you can eat more, but don’t go overboard.
How Carbohydrates Work
Starches provide energy for our central nervous system, helps maintain muscle function, prevents the protein from breaking down and enables fat metabolism in our bodies. Also, starches help with brain function such as memory and mood swings.
Added Carbohydrates in Processed Food
Processed foods such as candy, soda, processed sugar, white bread, white rice, cereals, ice cream to name a few, are foods to avoid. These foods offer no nutritional value and, later on in life, it can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and hardening of the arteries. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables helps to maintain a healthy weight overall.
How Carbohydrates Breakdown in the GI Tract
Depending on your metabolism (how your body burns fat), some people burn calories faster, so starches don’t stay in the digestive tract, which causes the body’s sugar level to go down. With other people, starches break down in the digestive system longer causing blood sugar to elevate. Starches that digest slower in the body can contribute to weight gain along with blood sugar spikes.
Nutritional Labels on Food Packages
When shopping at your local grocery store, look for labels in the subcategories: sugar, sugar alcohol, and fiber. Also, check for a number of carbohydrates. When figuring out carbohydrates, take the total amount of carbs and subtract them from the total grams of fiber, that is your total amount of carbs on the package. For example, a package of bread has 25 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber, you subtract (25 grams of carbohydrates from 5 grams of fiber, which gives you 20 grams of carbohydrates in the package of bread).
Controlling Portions When Eating Starchy Food
When eating foods high in carbohydrates, you want to eat them in smaller amounts. Instead, eat more fresh vegetables, cooked or steamed. For example, when eating spaghetti, you might want to measure the noodles to one-fourth on your plate instead of filling the whole plate. Also, avoid having a roll or breadstick with the pasta, but instead have a plate full of steamed or cooked vegetables.
Results of a Low Carb Diet
When going on a low carb diet, you may want to let your doctor know. Cutting back on carbohydrates can have positive effects that can lead to weight loss and lower blood sugar, but it can also have bad results, such as fatigue, low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia in diabetics, weakness, and lower energy. So it might be a good idea to cut back on your starches instead of cutting them out of your diet.