Friday, July 19, 2013

Evil Carbs

I LOVE food. I especially love carbs. 

That’s like admitting you killed someone in today’s world of super low-carb celebrity diets.

Carbs aren’t inherently bad though. I don’t think any food is. It’s about balance, portion control and making good choices. I refuse to exclude them from my diet. I do want to improve my health and control my weight though and controlling sugar levels is part of that.

When your body has really high and then really low levels of sugar, it can not only lead to eating too much, but also feeling more tired and sluggish and not thinking as clearly. So, keeping those levels more even is important to making better choices and feeling better.

One of the strategies I’m using is to eat smaller but more frequent meals. This helps stop the highs and lows that can lead to sugary snacks.  I’ve seen suggestions for eating every couple hours – and some people just graze all day long. You can use whatever method works for you – but skipping meals is not good for your body or your metabolism. A lot of people skip one or even two meals a day thinking It will help them lose weight. The problem is that your body thinks it’s starving so it slows down how fast you burn calories and sends all the energy into storage (translated – it makes fat) to protect itself.

I wish we could just tell it to knock off the fat-making, but it doesn’t work that way. Picture me bending over with a megaphone to my stomach -- yelling, "Stop making fat!" If I thought it would work . . .

Another helpful tool is to try and include protein in all your meals. I know, I know. I just told you all about my love affair with carbs and here I am touting protein. The truth is that the combination of them both is what works best to fuel our bodies. Carbs break down faster and release quick energy for the moment. Protein takes longer to kick in and then lasts longer and helps make us feel full sooner. I recently had an allergic reaction and the doctor gave me two shots of steroids. One released right away and lasted for about two days. The other one didn’t kick in for about two days and then lasted for a couple weeks. The combination is what took care of the problem. Remember too that the label "carbohydrate" doesn't just include bread and pasta. Vegetables and fruits also belong to this category. Carbs are often the best source of vitamins and minerals – especially antioxidants – which are important for overall health.

Another hint I already mentioned in an earlier post is making sure you’re hydrated. We do get some water from our food and our bodies will sometimes send the message that it wants food when what it really needs is water.

Have you tried any of these strategies? How did they work for you? Any tips on controlling hunger?

Here are some links you might find helpful:

Good Carbs Bad Carbs
How Carbs Help You Lose Weight

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