What are carbohydrates? They are the body’s main energy source giving us the power and vigour to move. It is much like fuel needed by cars to run. Like fuel, the quality of carbs makes a difference.
Would you choose health-risk French fries and white rice over the more beneficial brown rice and quinoa?
Many health-conscious individuals believe that eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates are more effective when it comes to weight loss.
Experts endorsed low-carb diets such as Atkins, ITG, Stillman, Dukan and the much-talked about South Beach Diet. People just went with the “in-style diet.
Simple Carbs - Complex Carbs
The healthier option is often the path towards fitness and weight loss. Understanding the two main types of carbohydrates could make the difference.
- Simple carb – is a quick-release, quick-use energy often derived from ice cream, cookies or candies. Too much of it is stored by the body as fat.
- Complex carb – the body takes longer to process this slow-digest, slow-release type. It provides energy longer and does not easily store as fat. Sources include brown rice, broccoli and oatmeal.
Our bodies need carbohydrates, making it ideal to readily utilize those that provide additional nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Unprocessed (or at least minimally-processed) foods are often the best sources. These include fruits, vegetables, beans, milk and whole grains.
Be cautious about the less healthy options. These generally cause added weight and health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. They include refined and processed foods such as white rice, bread, cookies, soda and pasta.
Make the Right Choice
- Go for low-calorie foods that can make you feel full longer. Fruits and vegetables are the top choices, providing fiber, bulk and water. The fresher, the better.
- Opt for more nutritious protein sources like beans, legumes, lentils and peas. They make better meat substitutes.
- For your calcium, vitamins, minerals and added protein needs, choose low-fat, less-sugar dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. These products help reduce your calorie and saturated fat ingestion.
- Refined products have little nutritional value. Get your nutrients from complex carbohydrates.
4 Steps to a Healthier You
- Healthy option means a dinner plate consisting of ½ vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ whole grain such as brown rice.
- Go for healthier alternatives as much as possible. Choose quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice or wheat pasta over white rice.
- Enjoy the benefits of fresh fruits instead of canned or dried. Fresh fruits make better juices providing fiber without sucrose (table sugar) but the healthier version fructose (fruit sugar).
- White potatoes are okay but sweet potatoes are better in terms of higher fiber with fewer calories and carbs.
The path to a healthier you begins with knowing your carbohydrates and making the right choice. Weight loss is about not about starving yourself. It's about knowing how to eat right.
If you are already on the right path towards fitness, share your healthy carbs in the comment section below.