Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carbs. Love em or hate em, lose em or keep em....

Carbs. Even just saying the word out loud conjures up thoughts of lust, guilt and temptation. Carbs have become the centerfold of the nutrition world over the past decade forcing the majority of the nation to shun potatoes, bread, pasta and rice. Thousands jumped on the Atkins diet band wagon consuming bacon and cheese smothered bun-less burgers for lunch and dinner. Snacks became pork rinds, cartons of heavy cream whipped with sweet-and-low, and sticks of butter sprinkled with nuts. Amazingly people were losing weight! Swearing that Atkins was the greatest thing that ever happened to them and that they were never going to eat carbs again.

Then it happened. Those individuals who were living a life full of decadent, fatty foods and breaking out their skinny jeans went weak in the knees for toast! Like a roller coaster effect, all those new svelte bodies started to fatten back up to their old sizes and then some! Why? Duh, because it's an impossible lifestyle to maintain.

Cutting out any food group is only going to cause you to crave it ten fold. The problem here is not that carbs are evil but it's the amount of carbs we eat and the type of carbs we eat. No kidding you'll lose weight when you cut out cookies, bagels, jumbo sized backed potatoes and piles of macaroni salad. Our cells literally suck up sugar when we eat it and store it for survival purposes. Our bodies don't care what they look like in a bikini, rather they simply want to pack as much away so they always have back-up fuel!

So, forget Atkins and all the other diets that shun carbs. Carbs are essential for our bodies to operate. They supply the brain with glucose to help you think and function, refuel glycogen stores in the muscle and liver after a workout and provide dozons of nutrients and fiber to meals. The key here again, how much and what kind! Eat your carbs in the morning! This is the best time. But make sure they're the right kind. Oatmeal, WHOLE GRAIN bread or cereal. Look at the serving size and eat one serving! One, not three! Pair it with some healthy fat and protein and your set. Throughout the day taper your carbs so much so that by dinner you are carb free! Most people don't need carbs that late. Our bodies begin to slow down and need less fuel as the day goes on. Avoid all sugar and processed carbs like the plague! The higher the sugar content or the more processed the food the faster it gets sent to the reserves. Number one. Choose carbs that are full of fiber which will keep blood sugar steady and allow for a slower release of them into the bloodstream. Number two. PORTION CONTROL! Buy a food scale. Number three. Eat them as straight from mother nature as you can get. I'm talking fruits and veggies here. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!

Don't fear the notorious carbohydrate. Rather embrace it in it's whole state a little at a time.

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