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The Truth About Carbohydrates

Not all Carbs are Created Equal
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
It’s true. A carbohydrate-rich diet can inflate appetite and girth. Low-carb diets do promote short-term weight loss, but are accompanied by some severe dangers. So what should you do? The truth is, you can have your carbs and eat them too—you just have to know how to choose them.

The Truth about Carbohydrates All carbohydrates are not created equal.
There are basically three types of carbohydrates:
  1. Simple carbohydrates are composed of 1 or 2 sugar units that are broken down and digested quickly.

    Recent research has shown that certain simple carbohydrate foods can cause extreme surges in blood sugar levels, which also increases insulin release. This can elevate appetite and the risk of excess fat storage.
     
  2. Complex carbohydrates (also referred to as starch) are made up of many sugar units and are found in both natural (brown rice) and refined (white bread) form. They are structurally more complex and take longer to be broken down and digested.

    Complex carbohydrate foods have been shown to enter the blood stream gradually and trigger only a moderate rise in insulin levels, which stabilizes appetite and results in fewer carbohydrates that are stored as fat. Unrefined or ‘whole grain’ carbohydrates found in products like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bran cereals are digested slowly. They contain vitamins, minerals and fiber which promote health. Fiber and nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits and beans which are carbohydrates also have many important functions for the body and are important for good health.
     
  3. Indigestible carbohydrates are also called fiber. The body is unable to breakdown fiber into small enough units for absorption. It is therefore not an energy source for the body but does promote health in many other ways.
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Simple carbs, complex carbs, and fiber are found in many foods. Some provide important nutrients that promote health while others simply provide calories that promote girth.

What You Should Know About Low-Carbohydrate Diets
Following an extremely low-carbohydrate diet is disastrous, dangerous, and above all—boring! Carbohydrates are NOT the enemy. Including the appropriate amounts and types of carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet is essential for long-term health and weight loss/maintenance.

The Body’s Immediate Reaction to Very Low Carbohydrate Diets
When there is a severe deficit of carbohydrates, the body has several immediate reactions:
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The Long-Term Effects of Low Carbohydrate Diets
When you severely restrict carbohydrates, your consumption of protein and fat increases, which has several long-term effects:
The Million Dollar Question
How do you include carbohydrates in you diet in a safe, effective, and controlled way? The “Please KISS Me” (Please Keep It So Simple for Me) plan for carbohydrate control is a wonderful tool that only contains 3 simple rules:

RULE 1: Include the following in your diet:
RULE 2: Limit the following to less than 2 servings daily:
RULE 3: Eliminate the following from your diet or eat only on occasion:
That’s it! A simple, effective carbohydrate-controlling plan that, when combined with your SparkDiet, allows you to reap the countless benefits of complex carbohydrates and fiber while enhancing your health and maintaining a healthy weight. The long term result will be a healthy you!