Are Carbohydrates Bad?

Are Carbohydrates Bad?

You read and hear about it everywhere. Everybody is ditching the carbohydrate for the proverbial protein. To illustrate that many people will follow a fad diet, I always ask the dieter WHY they are eating protein only. I love it! I've even had people tell me that they are eating bacon and sausage because it has protein and no carbohydrates.:laughing: What many people fail to understand is why carbohydrates are called "bad."

Carbohydrates are not bad. They are the best fuel source for energy. If you don't have a good source of carbohydrates, your body will take from the protein and fat you eat to supply glucose. This is the reason people go for the protein diets and starve their body of carbs. The problem is when you've depleted your stores of glycogen (stored glucose in muscle and lean tissue), your body turns to burning muscles or organs to supply energy needs. Have you ever gone on a protein only diet and felt really sluggish? You can't think straight can you? Well, there you go.

This is also why protein only diets don't provide for good muscle tone. Your body is burning the protein you eat and burning the glycogen in your muscles for energy. Not good. When this happens, your metabolism actually slows down because you have less lean muscle tissue burning calories (muscle burns calories) and your body thinks its starving and cuts back on energy requirements. So really, because your body thinks that there is a famine in the land, it will hold on to as much fat as it can to keep you alive. Do you see the problem?

I recently spoke with someone who I consulted with about a month ago. Right when I walked through the door, she said, "Critical Mass! ( I let her call me Critical Mass:D ) I cut my calories down to 1200 calories a day and I'm eating almost no carbohydrates and I put on a pound!"

She was surprised when I told her to slightly increase her complex carbohydrate count. Then I explained how her body was probably storing up everything it could because it thinks she's starving to death.

Do you understand what I'm saying to you?

The carbohydrates you eat should come from carbohydrate-rich foods that are close to the form that occurs in nature. These are called "complex carbohydrates." The closer the carbohydrate food is to what nature provides, the greater the density of vital nutrients in that carbohydrate. Your body will burn these carbs slower than the "bad" carbs, and will indirectly cause your body to store less fat. (just keep reading on and I'll explain.)

You can also get carbohydrates from processed foods such as soft drinks, cookies, chips, white bread, and alcohol. These generally are called "simple carbohydrates," and are considered to be a poor food choice that should be eaten rarely. These simple carbohydrates have been highly refined and processed. If your diet consists mainly of the above listed foods, you should be warned that eating a diet like this has been associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and uhhhh..... oh yeah, being FAT!

These "bad" carbohydrates are those that cause an immediate high rise in blood sugar levels. "Good" carbohydrates do not do this. Remember, good carbohydrates are those that are found in nature and usually do not cause a high rise in blood sugar levels. Remember? They burn slower, and keep insulin levels more steady and level. Bad carbohydrates are usually created by refining grains or other plants into "pure" starches or sugars (i.e., flour, white rice, cornmeal, and table sugar.)

You may ask, "what's so bad about high blood sugar levels?" Well, high blood sugar and insulin levels go hand-in-hand with your body storing up fat. If a carbohydrate burns quickly like simple ones do, it basically tells your body to store up fat. If the carbohydrate burns slowly like complex carbs do, the insulin and blood sugar levels stay lower and more steady, thus not triggering your body to store up as much fat. The mechanics of these two opposing reactions can be more technical, but this is the explanation in layman's terms.

If you are trying to lose weight, it is perfectly healthy to eat a variety of the good carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, beans, seeds and nuts. The carbohydrates to avoid are foods made with flour, milled corn or white rice, fruit juices, sugared soft drinks or other beverages with sugar, and processed foods that contain added sugars. You may want to eat a low-to-moderate amount of complex carbs to limit your total calories, but you can eat some nonetheless.

Not all carbohydrates are bad.