We need carbohydrates (carbs). They are our chief source of energy – like gasoline is to a car. Carbs fuel your body and your brain, too. The richest sources are anything that grows from the earth; fruit, vegetables (and root vegetables), grains and legumes. These are whole foods or complex carbohydrates, which our body breaks down slowly during digestion.
What we don’t need is the simple carbs so prevalent among our food choices today – the processed, refined foods. These are whole foods or complex carbs that have been drastically altered before we eat them.
Sadly, misinformation has made carb another four-letter word. Low-carb diets tell us carbs are the reason we become insulin resistant and gain weight, as indicated by the rising incidents of obesity and diabetes. But carbohydrates were around long before these high disease rates occurred. Processed carbs weren’t. Therefore, carbohydrates aren’t the problem, say nutritionists. It’s the processed, refined carbohydrates that throw our bodies out of balance. If we had left carbs in their natural state, they wouldn’t have become a problem.
The body is designed to slowly and methodically break down a whole food into the nutrients it needs. Refined sugars and other highly processed foods are already broken down and absorbed very quickly. Eating them too frequently is confusing and stressful to the body. Nutritionists advise not to follow a low-carb diet, but a “proper carb diet.”
The human race is getting sicker. It’s not just obesity and diabetes, but cancers and heart disease are also on the rise. Processed, refined foods are a contributing factor to declining health. They lack the nutrition needed to strengthen our bodies and our immune systems. Same for the restrictive low-carb diets, say nutritionists. These diets lack fibre and many phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables – including nutrients science hasn’t discovered yet.
Perhaps the best strategy to correct an insulin imbalance and lose the resulting weight is to eat more natural carbs and less of the carbs that can create an insulin problem — the “junk” food. If your carb choice isn’t in a form Mother Nature created, it may not be a healthy choice. Cut back on foods designed and altered by humans. Choose an apple as a snack instead of a cookie or a sports bar. Eat more fruits and vegetables, legumes, root vegetables and whole grains.
Carbohydrates are not “bad” for us. We must avoid using the word carbohydrate when we are referring to processed, refined foods.
INSPIRED SENIOR LIVING - JULY 2016
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