Carbohydrates are energy foods. Without them, you’d get fuzzy headed, cranky and very tired, and no one will want to be around you. The low-carb diet craze deemed all carbs evil and fattening. People abandoned all forms of fruit, rice, and pasta and ate mostly protein. The problem is, you can only eat so much protein and fat before you start to get nauseated by it.
Know Good Carbohydrates
Yet, not all carbs are the same. There are bad ones-stuff made mostly out of sugar or over-refined like white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Sugar and sweets are the worst. Consider this: we are eating over twelve times the amount of sugar our great-grandparents consumed. That’s roughly equivalent to 160 pounds of sugar per person per year.
Now, imagine filling up your living room or garage with 160 of those one pound packages you buy at the grocery store. Really get a mental picture of it. Let’s say you don’t eat as much as others, and cut it in half. It’s still a hefty pile, isn’t it? You see, most people have no idea that they’re eating so much sugar. Much of it is hidden in process packaged foods we eat, as well as in beverages.
The type of carbs you eat is important. But so is the amount. You can go overboard on carbs, even good carbohydrates, and this can be devastating to your natural metabolic processes.
Many people are walking around completely unaware that they may be “carbohydrate sensitive.” When you get carbohydrate sensitive, your body can no longer burn fat effectively, and a good deal of the carbohydrates you eat are packed away as fat. Carbohydrate sensitivity occurs when:
- You habitually eat too much sugar and refined carbohydrates (crackers, bagels, pasta, sugary cereals and desserts, white rice and white bread). Unfortunately, this sensitivity increases with age. It can also lead to insulin resistance, a condition just shy of type 2 diabetes. In insulin resistance, cells don’t recognize glucose anymore, so glucose is barred from entering cells for energy. Your blood sugar tends to rise, you are more fatigued, and you gain more weight mostly around your waist and chest area.
- You suffer from chronic stress. Our bodies deal with stress by raising cortisol levels, a hormone secreted from our adrenal glands. This in turn, triggers the over release of glucose and insulin into the blood stream. The result is the same as if you ate cake all day long.
- You’re a woman. While men burn carbohydrates for energy, women tend to store them as fat. This is especially true as women age. Menopausal women are more prone. They don’t have enough estrogen stores to deal with cortisol and its tendency to make the body store fat. Chalk it up to female biology
Choose Fats and Foods that Burn Fat
Fat in the diet has been blamed for many modern lifestyle diseases: obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Not all fats are created equal, however. Most people know by now they should limit intake of saturated fats, found in animal foods, and avoid trans fats entirely. Processed foods are loaded with trans fats.
Polyunsaturated fats, found mostly in fish and vegetable oils, are what I call “friendly fats.” Foods that burn fat contain these fats that are actually healthy for you. They are credited with keeping your skin supple and youthful, reducing harmful levels of cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, contributing to brain and eye development and a host of other health benefits almost akin to panacea. Polyunsaturated fats also promote weight loss because they keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. This keeps you from eating too many calories.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, boost your metabolism. Adding some weekly servings of fish high in omega-3s (salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines), and other foods that burn fat while reducing calories, helped overweight people lose more weight than reducing calories alone, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers concluded that the omega-3s helped subjects burn more calories. If you don’t like fish, take 3 grams of fish oil supplements daily.
How do you maintain your ideal weight? Please share your tips and comment below!