Refined Carbs and Sugar: The Diet Saboteurs

Bad or simple carbs are the comfort foods we often crave: pasta, fries, pizza, white bread, and sugary treats. Choosing good carbs instead can improve your health, mood, and waistline.

What are refined, simple, or “bad” carbs?

Bad or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients, such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals. They digest quickly and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. They can also cause fluctuations in mood and energy and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline.

When you eat refined or simple carbs, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar which triggers a surge of insulin to clear the sugar from your blood. All this insulin can leave you feeling hungry soon after a meal, often craving more sugary carbs. This can cause you to overeat, put on weight, and over time lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Diets high in refined carbs and sugar have also been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity, mood disorders, and even suicide in teenagers.

Why is cutting down on sugar and refined carbs so difficult?

For many of us, cutting back on sugary treats and overcoming our carb cravings can seem like a daunting task. As well as being present in obvious foods such as sugary snacks, desserts, and candies, sugar is also hidden in much of the processed food we eat—from soda, coffee and fruit drinks to bread, pasta sauce, and frozen dinners. But cutting back on these diet saboteurs doesn’t mean feeling unsatisfied or never enjoying comfort food again. The key is to choose the right carbs. Complex, unrefined, or “good” carbs such as vegetables, whole grains, and naturally sweet fruit digest slower, resulting in stable blood sugar and less fat accumulation.

By focusing on whole foods and complex, unrefined carbs, you can reduce your intake of sugar and simple carbs, keep your blood sugar stable, maintain a healthy weight, and still find ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. You’ll not only feel healthier and more energetic, you could also shed that stubborn belly fat so many of us struggle with.

The not-so-sweet link between sugar and belly fat

A lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver and is closely linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes. Calories obtained from fructose (found in sugary beverages such as soda, energy and sports drinks, coffee drinks, and processed foods like doughnuts, muffins, cereal, candy, and granola bars) are more likely to add weight around your abdomen. Cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lower risk of diabetes.

Good carbs vs. bad carbs

Carbohydrates are one of your body’s main sources of energy. Health organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. However, the majority of these should be from complex, unrefined carbs rather than refined carbs (including starches such as potatoes and corn).

Unlike simple carbs, complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar. They’re usually high in nutrients and fiber, which can help prevent serious disease, aid with weight-loss, and improve your energy levels. In general, “good” carbohydrates have a lower glycemic load and can even help guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the future.

Good carbs include:

Unrefined whole grains – whole wheat or multigrain bread, brown rice, barley, quinoa, bran cereal, oatmeal.

Non-starchy vegetables – spinach, green beans, Brussels sprouts, celery, tomatoes.

Legumes – kidney beans, baked beans, peas, lentils.

Nuts – peanuts, cashews, walnuts.

Fruit – apples, berries, citrus fruit, bananas, pears.

 

Source By: https://www.helpHguide.org/

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