Fat is good, sugar is bad, right?
Have you read the news? There's a war on sugar! Run for the hills - the sugar monster is coming to get you!
Fat? Well that's in the clear now. Go on! Drown yourself in butter and lard! Drink it through a straw, it's healthy!
If you read the mainstream media you'd be forgiven for thinking these things. From the 70s until very recently there was a war on fat, now it's the turn of sugar!
Don't get me wrong, there is a huge problem with sugar in the modern diet, huge! It's hidden in so many processed foods. And you do need to be wary of it.
But people are getting the message that all forms of carbohydrates are evil and that by excluding them, you will miraculously become the very essence of health. The mainstream media love a catchy headline and they love a simple message. And so do we the public, it seems.
Carbo-phobia is the new kid on the block. It's cool to be low-carb. I know people who are so carbo-phobic that they won't eat fruit because they're worried about sugar. But fruit is much more than just sugar - more of this later.
OK, lets inject some common sense into this. Your brain runs on glucose, your muscles burn carbohydrates. You can't function without carbs.
The problem in the last 50 years or so, is that increasingly we get our carbohydrates from the following sources: sweets, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, white bread (effectively just sugar), soft drinks, cereals, fruit juices (where the fibre is removed), ready meals, sauces in jars - basically most of the processed foods that you find on a supermarket shelf.
Fact - you need to avoid these above sources of carbohydrates.
Fiction - you need to avoid all forms of carbohydrate.
DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!!!
How sugar is metabolised in your body
The issue is with how sugar is digested and metabolised. When you eat processed carbs / sugar in concentrated form, the sugar molecules are instantly absorbed into your blood stream, creating a huge blood sugar spike. High blood sugar is dangerous for your body - ask any diabetic - and in response your pancreas dumps insulin into the blood. Insulin acts like a key, allowing sugar molecules to pass into muscle cells for storage and lowering blood sugar concentrations.
The unfortunate thing is that insulin is not a precise tool for lowering blood sugar to the perfect level. It continues to work even when the blood sugar emergency has abated. The result is that your blood sugar lowers rapidly and you soon feel hungry again. And then reach for more crap!! Does this sound familiar?
What's more, processed carbs are pro-oxidative, meaning that they increasing ageing in your cells and are a massive contributor to obesity.
Get your carbohydrates from these sources:
What's good about these carbs?
The carbohydrates in these foods are bound up in plant cells. Your digestive system has to work at getting them. Many of these foods are full of water and fibre. The result is that you don't get an instant blood sugar spike. Yes, your blood sugars go up - as they do any time that you eat. But they go up steadily and manageably and your body doesn't panic - i.e. dump huge amounts of insulin into the blood.
So - this weeks' tweak. Eat from the above carbohydrates everyday. They'll keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fibre.
Don't fear carbs!
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