This article was made possible through the financial support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has sponsored Qcitymetro’s Health Page since 2010.
Carbohydrates are often a point of contention when it comes to weight loss. Some popular diets call for the total elimination of carbohydrates, or at least a dramatic reduction. Despite their bad rep, not all carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact, our bodies need carbohydrates for energy.
There are two types of carbs — good and bad, simple and complex. Knowing the difference is essential to good nutrition.
What is a carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates help fuel our bodies. When we eat a carbohydrate, our bodies convert it to glucose, for energy. The rate at which your body digests these carbs affects how quickly your blood sugar spikes. The faster your blood sugar spikes, the faster it also crashes, which can cause you to feel hungry faster. Carbohydrates that do not spike the blood sugar as quickly are known as “good carbs.” Those that spike the blood sugar quickly are the “bad carbs.”
Complex “good” carbs:
We get these from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These carbs have more fiber and take longer for your body to digest, causing your blood sugar to not spike as high.
Processed “bad” carbs:
Sources of these include pastries, white bread, white pasta, and regular sodas. There is less fiber in these foods. Too much can cause weight gain, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other health-related issues.
So No More Goodies?
No, I’m not saying you must give up cakes and cookies and brownies, etc., but everything in moderation. If overall you eat healthy, it’s okay to have a small dessert at the end of the day, or occasionally pasta.
Remember to use common sense, and don’t go overboard with anything you eat.