Carbohydrates are the macronutrient we love to hate (as of late).
BUT our body LOOOVES carbs, and uses them as the number 1 fuel source to get us through the day.
Most of the time when we think of carbs, we think of processed carbohydrates that DO pack on pounds, especially around the waistline. These are anything from donuts, pastries, cookies, pasta, bread (yes bread, whole wheat included), cakes, crackers, pizza, most packaged and processed snack "food", and I think everyone is getting the point.
What we don't think of are the awesome, healthy carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, starches and whole grains.
These carbs fuel the body by delivering TONS of vitamins, minerals, fiber (if you're not pooping at least once a day you need to eat more of these ((and drink more H2O)), and a ton of phyto(plant)nutrients and antioxidants.
One HUGE way to tell if you're eating too many of the wrong types of carbohydrates: Belly. Fat.
Belly fat is different than under arm fat or thigh fat or any other fat on the body because it is metabolically active, meaning it makes you hungrier and causes you to crave more of the food you don't need to eat. Belly fat also causes you to crave foods like fatty, sugary foods (think of processed carbohydrates or sweet fats, like ice cream).
But don’t all carbohydrates break down to sugar, anyways? YES, well almost.
Except for fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in gut.
If you’re saying you don’t eat sugar and yet you’re eating all this processed white flour (bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, cake, etc), you are most certainly eating sugar… and lots of it.
As I mentioned before, as all carbs (except fruit) get digested and are eventually broken down to glucose.
Fruit breaks down to fructose. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit and some artificially sweetened beverages and food products. Fructose goes straight to the liver, where it either gets used as energy or stored as fat (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, anyone?).
Why is this important?
If you’re eating fruits and vegetables, you’re ultimately eating sugar. HOWEVER, fruits and vegetables have TONS of VITAL nutrients in them, like FIBER, which slows the body’s absorption of sugar). This is why eating a piece of fruit is WAY different than drinking a glass of fruit juice.
Does this mean don’t eat fruit? NO.
If you are trying to lose weight or have a health issue, you may have specific needs. But generally speaking, enjoy fruit! Especially berries, as they are very low in sugar, very high in nutrients, and are my favorite fruit (I try to buy organic when possible).
Does this mean avoid store bought fruit juices and jams (especially concentrate) like the plague? YES.
Comparable to soda, these products cause pure chaos to take place in your blood stream, liver, and intestinal tract.
Don’t even get me started on “sports drinks”. If you are eating a diet full of nutrient deficient, beige foods, adding in fruit juices because the bottle says you get a full day's serving of Vitamin C, is, in my opinion, absurd. Eat the fruit, ditch the juice.
Most importantly, ENJOY CARBS (the right kinds)!!!