Carbs: Friend or Foe?
So many people have an irrational fear of carbohydrates. Something we hear a lot in our office is “Dr. Stefania, can I even eat carbs”. The answer to that question is, absolutely YES. When people go on a “diet” (and yes I will always put quotations around diet because you should not be on a diet, rather make a lifestyle change that sticks), they decide to cut ALL carbs out of their diet because most people recognize the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet. Although ketogenic is an effective diet for quick weight loss, it is not preferred by the body as a sustained lifestyle choice because the brain runs off of glucose. Ketosis for longer than two months at a time can effect your mental acuity, memory, and concentration. Also, a ketogenic diet can be hard on the adrenal glands and will interrupt your production of stress hormones, sex hormones, and pH regulating hormones. This is a big reason why we have people who join our nutrition program who have had success with a ketogenic “diet”, but feel like they have no energy, poor sleeping patterns, low libido, poor exercise/sport performance, and irritability.
Therefore, my friends, it is absolutely essential that you understand the difference between good and bad carbs or “complex” and “simple” carbs, respectively. I can NOT stress this enough; your body wants and needs carbs. When you learn how to add them into your diet at appropriate amounts and times, you will see the results you have always been wanting!
What are Bad carbs or “simple” carbs?
Bad carbohydrates in the medical world are called simple carbohydrates and all you need to know friends is that simply… they make you fat. If you continue to have simple carbs dominate your “diet”, you will be setting yourself up for inflammatory diseases down the road. I want you to think about inflammation as a fire inside of your body. Certain foods will ignite that fire and certain foods will extinguish that fire. Simple carbs will be lighter fluid to that fire inside of you! If you eat them every day, you will most likely develop diseases like diabetes, heart disease, auto immune diseases, cancer and more!
So, what should you pay attention to when you are buying groceries? You are looking for words like “sugar”, “syrup”, “fructose”, “sucralose”, “mannitol”, “xylitol”, and “erythritol”. If you look at the INGREDIENTS of your food (stop looking at the chart for now) and you see any of those words, don’t even bother buying that item.
- Baked goods
- Processed foods/snacks
- Salad dressings
- Most beverages especially juices and iced teas
Moral of the story, if it has sugar or one of those words listed above, it is a simple carb. We are not going to get into artificial sweeteners in this blog because that is for a different day.
What are Good carbs or “complex” carbs?
Good carbs in the medical world are called “complex” carbohydrates and these carbs are essential for your body to function optimally. They are jammed packed with nutrients and glucose (natural sugar) that our body needs to run properly. These are the carbs that extinguish that fire raging inside of us and help increase the function of our brain and adrenal glands, in large. OH, and they also are CRUCIAL for weight loss and muscle gain. So, if that is not incentive enough to eat your carbs, I really do not know what else you need to hear!
- Nuts/seeds nut butters
- Almond/coconut flour
- Whole grains (rice, quinoa, oatmeal, buckwheat, millet etc.)
- Root vegetables (potatoes, squash, etc.)
What is the point of this blog? The point is to stop depriving yourself from carbohydrates, just start choosing the RIGHT carbohydrates that will fuel your body and help aid your weight loss goals. If you do not where to start when it comes to living a healthier life, start with cutting out those “simple” carbs out of your diet and I promise you, you will see and feel the difference.
If you are looking to lose weight and need our help, give us a call and ask us about our nutrition program!
-Dr. Stefania Incollingo DC, MSACN