We need carbohydrates in our diet. They are the source of fuel the body uses for energy once broken down during the process of digestion.
During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, providing the body with a steady source of energy. Carbohydrates are measured using the Glycaemic Index.
Once you understand the difference between high and low GI carbohydrates you will know which offers the best quality fuel for your body.
High GI Carbohydrates
Come in the form of high energy, sugary snack foods which you would typically find in granola bars, candy, chocolate, cakes, cookies, donuts, soft drinks also in fruits and dairy products etc. These types of carbohydrates are broken down instantly and used for energy by the body. This is why some people experience intense sugar highs after consuming foods high in sugar.
The burst of energy is like a flash in the pan, it only lasts for a short time. Within an hour your energy levels have gone to an extreme high then plummet to a low. Your body then stimulates your appetite to consume more because it needs more energy.
Consuming diets high in refined sugar foods plays havoc with your insulin levels. Because there is such a rush of sugar in one huge amount, the body must accommodate this by releasing enough insulin to counteract it which is why you experience intense highs and lows.
Your body must get rid of that sugar from the blood immediately and any excess sugar that is not burned off as energy must be stored as fat. You have to understand that your body cannot allow any remaining sugar to be floating around in the blood as it effects your body’s normal functions. Once your body becomes unable to effectively remove all sugar from the blood, you become diabetic.
The scary fact is that most children under the age of 10 years are consuming around 70 teaspoons of sugar in a typical day. This is staggering; in fact it is believed that our children today will be among some of the first in their generation to die before their parents.
Examples of high GI carbohydrates:
· Soft drinks
Most fat-free foods are more or less completely refined sugar. Refined sugars are the worst type of “bad carbohydrates”. Examples of these harmful foods are white sugar, sweets, white flour and enriched bread products.
If urge you to change two things in your diet starting today; (1) remove saturated and processed (trans) fats, and (2) remove processed sugars. You will be utterly flabbergasted by the difference to your health, energy and body fat levels.
I can here you saying, "but is refined sugar honestly that bad for me?" After all, if my calories are under maintenance, what possible difference can a teaspoon of sugar in my tea really make ?
Well, here are the most significant reasons to avoid sugar like the plague:
· Refined sugar can suppress your immune system
· Refined sugar can contribute to diabetes
· Refined sugar can be a contributing factor to gaining body fat
· Refined sugar can increase the bad LDL cholesterol
· Refined sugar can decrease the good LDL cholesterol
· Refined sugar can deplete your body of important minerals
· Refined sugar can contribute to the development of numerous types of cancer
· Refined sugar can cause hypoglycemia
· Refined sugar can increase triglycerides
· Refined sugar can decrease growth hormone
· Refined sugar can cause food allergies
· Refined sugar can increase serum insulin
As this list very well demonstrates, the consequences of sugar on obesity and illnesses are disturbing.
Reduce your intake of “bad” (refined) carbohydrates
"Fat-free" or "low-fat" on food labels doesn't mean that it is healthy or can help you lose weight.
Fat-free foods are usually extremely high in refined sugars. For example, many no-fat yogurts are laden with refined sugar. Some "fat-free" cakes and biscuits are nearly one hundred percent sugar. We are so used to hearing the "fat is bad" cautionary tale, that many consumers cross over to non-fat diet products. But they totally forget to consider the amount of of refined sugars in the ingredients.
Watch out for concealed refined sugars.
Small amounts of refined sugars are found in some surprising foods:
· Non-fat salad dressings
· Pasta sauces
· Processed lunch meat
· Tomato sauce
· White bread
· Cereals... the list is endless
It is impractical to fully do away with all of the sugar from your diet but you should make a do is make a decision to reduce down your refined sugar intake as much as you can, particularly from easy to see sources like soft drinks, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, added sugar to tea and coffee etc.
Get into the habit of reading food labels in the and check the ingredients for refined sugars.
I created this manual to help you adopt better routines that you can keep for life. The most important habit you should start doing asap is that of reading the nutrition labels on food products.
Lots of consumers already scan the nutrition lists on products for fat, protein, calories and carbohydrates but they nearly always overlook the list of ingredients.
Make sure you look at the ingredients list for hidden sugars.. Refined sugars are sometimes masquerading as other ingredients or as their proper chemical names such as sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, rice syrup, sucrose or glucose. These just different versions of refined sugar. If sugar is named as one of the primary ingredients, then this product should be avoided and certainly not eaten every day.
Low GI Carbohydrates
Unlike high GI carbohydrates these aren’t easily broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly.
Because they are complex in structure they take longer to break down and are released gradually, not instantly into the bloodstream. This means that they provide a steady, stable source of energy and because they are slow releasing have a chance to be burned off rather than stored as fat.
Examples of low GI carbohydrates:
· Vegetables (cellulose)
· Whole grain breads
· Wholegrain cereals
· Whole grain pasta
· Sweet potatoes
· Brown rice
· Jasmine rice
You should incorporate more low GI carbs into your diet but that’s not to say that you can’t have the occasional treat.
Just be aware of what you are eating and putting into your body and that any type of carb consumed, in the absence of any kind of exercise will lead to weight gain. Your body is efficient, if the energy you consume is not used it will be stored as fat.
It probably pays to eat to the conditions. What is that I hear you ask? Just like driving to the conditions if you know that it’s going to rain, you of course drive a little more cautiously, you drive to the conditions.
In the case of eating, you eat to the conditions. If you know that you are out to play an intense game of tennis for the evening then you consume extra carbs for energy. If on the other hand you’re going to be sitting in a cinema for 2 hours than you consume a little less as you won’t be undertaking any physical activity to burn it off.
Your typically try and eat more low GI carbohydrates as it takes your body longer to break them down meaning a slow, steady release of energy. This is the best route to take for weight loss as high GI foods tend to release energy too quickly into your bloodstream giving you massive highs and lows. Also the slow release means the less likely you are to contract Type II diabetes at some point in your life.
We Have All Of This Knowledge – Now What?
With everything we’ve spoken about up until this point, it boils down to 2 things that you need to lose weight for good. What you eat and how much you move.
You should eat sensibly, that’s not to say that you can’t have the occasional treat from time to time. Just not every day. A lot of these foods were absent from supermarket shelves and from society just 50 short years ago and the weight of the average person reflected this. So it stands to reason that it is how we are eating that is keeping the weight on our bodies. If we just shift our eating by reducing the high fat, simple carbohydrate foods and move a little more like our ancestors did, we will lose the weight.
Eat a balanced diet and you’re well on your way.
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My name is Dave Hagger, founder of Seriously Fit Bootcamp
As a fitness professional I frequently meet people who want to lose weight but just have no idea where to start.