New ways to love carbs! – Part 1

How many different diet plans have you heard of and read in the past where you’ve been asked to eliminate carbohydrates- without a clear distinction between the ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ carbohydrates – either completely or limit it to a minuscule amount in your diet to lose weight? I am sure plenty. Right? And, when you did eliminate it, what did you experience?

The loss of energy accompanied with general lethargy and that desperate need to binge at odd hours or late in the night-when no one is watching- that you think is coming from absolutely nowhere! And what happens when this becomes a regular pattern in your life .You may suddenly face a harsh reality. Your reality could be that you are diagnosed with either type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease or even certain cancers.  My aim here is not to scare you but to educate you. Stay with me as I throw some light on this subject.

Now let me explain why these ‘fad’ diets that focus on eliminating carbohydrates have gained such momentous popularity in the past. The reason why ‘fad’ diets in the past encouraged eliminating or significantly reducing carbohydrates from your diet is because in the absence of carbs, fat reserves are used as a source of energy and hence helping in fat loss or weight loss. The initial weight loss will surely happen but will be short lived.  You then get trapped in the vicious cycle of binging, also known as ‘yo-yo’ dieting. These diets have actually done a disservice to you by failing to inform that by doing so the body was deprived of the primary source of energy. Also, a clear distinction between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates was never made.

This is what happens; say when you eat a piece of white bread or a slice of that yummy pizza – known as refined carbohydrate- you been craving to get your hands on and your teeth into for tonight. The pancreas break down the pizza slice into glucose, which is further stored as glycogen in the muscle tissue. The liver breaks this glycogen down, the muscles extract as much glucose as they need and what’s left over is stored as fat via a process called ‘lipogenesis’ in the body. This mainly will happen if a) you have a sedentary lifestyle and b) you do not have a regular exercise regime.

If you are active, you will use this energy almost immediately especially since a slice of pizza is mainly made of refined and enriched carbohydrates. When you are eating refined carbs, be aware that in that case, the outer shell is removed which speeds up the process of converting starch into sugar, which in turn is quickly stored as fat.  You will also not feel satisfied by consuming these enriched carbohydrates, the energy provided is short-lived, and you will have the urge to eat more right then or will feel hungry in a short duration of time. And this would then lead to increased calorie intake and which would eventually lead to weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle like I said before! The increased intake of refined carbs world over has led to increase in obesity, weight gain and diabetes.

So, what am I proposing here, you may wonder? I am asking you to consider new ways to love carbs. And how may you do that, you may ask? Hold your horses. Take a deep breath. Let me twirl a little and test your patience. Ok, here it goes. The remedy is simple- replace refined carbs with complex carbs. But what are complex carbohydrates, I am sure, will be your logical next question.

I know… I know I am testing your patience, but in my next two blogs, my aim is to educate you on understanding and identifying complex carbohydrates. So, please stay tuned!

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