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Carbs 101 Nutrition Database Nutrition Dictionary: A Comprehensive Source of Nutritional Terms Carbohydrates Database Carbohydrate Articles Carbs 101

Carbohydrates 101

So what's the deal with carbohydrates? There are so many mixed thoughts on carbohydrates and most of them are contradicting and confusing!We get a ton of questions per week on carbs. "What are good carbs?" "How many carbs should i eat?" "Can I eliminate carbs from my diet?" etc...

Carbohydrates can be broken down into 2 major categories: simple and complex.

Complex carbohydrates are composed of long chains of sugar molecules and require more digestion than simple sugars. Complex carbs provide a more consistent blood sugar level in your body. This is essential to prevent food cravings and keep your weight in a healthy range. Complex carbohydrates are the types of carbs we want in our diets. Examples: beans, vegetables, fruit, whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, breads and pastas. Most complex carbs also provide a good amount of fiber which makes you feel full, keeps your digestive tract working properly and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Simple carbohydrates. We all know what happens soon after we eat sugar (like soda or candy) we get a sugar high. Lots of energy for a short period of time then..... crash .... its all over and our body "craves" more sugar. Hence the vicious cycle of sugar and fat storage! Well here's what happens. The sugar you eat is quickly digested, goes quickly into your blood (the "rush") and your body quickly compensates by pulling the extra sugar out of your blood. Guess where THAT goes? Right on... it's stored as fat! Some examples of not so good carbs: sweets, soda, processed cereals and snacks, candy etc.

Check out labels and you'll be surprised. Especially items like cereal, crackers, condiments, yogurts, and soups. Many times if something is fat free, they make up for flavor with the sugar. BEWARE! Rule of thumb: if one serving has more than 10 grams of sugar, it's fat waiting to be stored!

So what's the deal with bread and pasta? They are NOT a problem. What IS a problem is the portion size. Restaurant servings are usually 5 times what a "serving" should be. Look at a box of pasta. Do you get 8 servings from it? I don't think so. How about when you order a nice healthy turkey sandwich with mustard at the deli? WRONG! The bread or roll kills that plan. Next time take half the bread away. Have an open face or just eat the middle. Might sound crazy but you won't look so crazy in your bathing suit!

On a final note. Eating 5-6 small meals per day is ideal for weight loss. One serving of good carbs at each meal will ensure you are aiming for optimal carb intake!

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