miércoles, 10 de julio de 2013

Do you choose the good carbohydrates? Say No to refined ones.

I started this month with the Protein post. Today, my second post of these 3 themed ones about macronutrients is dedicated to the Carbs! We love them, and hate them too(for some undesirable side effects). Carbs are everywhere, don't think in just pasta, potatoes, bread or rice. Think of fruit and root vegetables too!

So that's why I am giving you the insight of carbs, how to choose them and which ones will be more beneficial for your belly.

The majority of the carbohydrates you usually eat  will end up reduced to sugar in all its forms and will be stored to be used as energy for your whole body.

So, with that in mind, What are the best types of carbs? 

The one that takes longer to break down into sugar and doesn't alter too much too soon blood sugar levels. That is, if you are not in the middle of a marathon or practice endurance sports, in which case a sugary drink or a big pasta bowl will help.

One thing that is very noticeable when we eat carbohydrates is the need of drinking more water and somehow the feel of flabby skin and muscle. This is simply because carbohydrates need to be stored with the help of water (they are hydrated carbon molecules) and we retain water in our body.

For 1g of carbs we eat we need 3g of water.

Another not so great effect of carbs when eating too much:
Have you noticed that the day you have a typical continental breakfast, you carry on with pasta or rice dish for lunch and end up having even more carbs and snacks during the rest of the day? I have, and as a good observer I presume to be, I have to say that I have seen it in others too! This is the effect of the glycemia. Super fast sugar absorption of the tasty refined Carbs that satisfy you but then triggers the need of more later on during the day.

 It's not about not eating carbs but eating the right ones at the right amount.

All these foods contain a good amount of carbohydrates:

All kinds of legumes
Cereals and derivatives = rice, bread, pasta, corn, couscous 
Roots = potatoes, sweet potatoes
Legumes = lentils, peas, broad beans, chickpeas

Which one do you think is higher in carbohydrates? Rice! Almost 90g of 100g are coming from carbs.
But I think it is much more important to prioritize any cereal in the form of wholegrain because at least the fibre will slow down sugar absorption, plus very important vitamins are only in the husk of the grain.

Other roots such carrots and beetroots contain more sugars compared to other vegetables. Pretty obvious as the sweet taste makes us guess it. But don't stop eating them!! Better a bag of carrots than a Coke!

This picture says it all:

Courtesy of Sugarstacks, my favorite site for visually shocking images of sugar content in food:  http://www.sugarstacks.com/vegetables.htm

I would also like to include fruit, as a source of carbohydrates, specially bananas, custard apple (chirimoya), figs and  grapes. That means that even if you don't eat cereals or bread in your meal that piece of fruit will give you plenty of sugar.

Lentils , Proteins or Carbohydrates?
Well, I still like to call them carbohydrates because they belong to the type of food that makes the body release insulin as a response to sugars.  Although what is so great about lentils is that it is the best option as light carbohydrate because it is very high in protein. This is why vegetarians need to eat more pulses and less cereals derivatives in order to keep the diet more balanced.

A balanced meal contains 1/4 of your dish in the form of any carbohydrate. With this you will ensure a pretty decent calorie intake per day that will keep your body weight stable in the long term.
Also, on a regular day with almost 10 hours of it spending it seated on a chair...we sure are loaded with energy to spend.

The key: Eat legumes and whole grains with the rest of your vegetables and proteins. Remember the balanced dish! Use your hand as a measurement cup for the size of a good portion.

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