There are essentially three types of diets these days. There is the Atkins diet which stresses low to zero carbs. There is the low fat diet which stresses no fats and there is a vegetarian diet which stresses low fat and low protein but allows higher carbohydrates.
Today I would like to demystify the need for carbs. And then in the future we can deal with fats and protein as well as what diet is best.
Where to find Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the main component of grains, rice, fruits and vegetables. You essentially need carbohydrates for energy and fibre. When your body is looking for a source of energy it tends to use the simplest form available. The very simplest form of energy is glucose and although this is pure table sugar its next closest form is found in fruits as sucrose. These carbohydrates are called simple carbs because they are easy for your body to break down into energy.
If your body can not find one of these sources of sugar for energy it will move down the food chain and try one of the next most easily available carbs next would be grain based or what we look at as ‘white’ carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, or rice. (Chocolate bars although not an official food group are closer to sugar than veggies or other carbs). Your body will use any of the complex carbs as well as vegetables for fuel before moving to fats or proteins.
Now that we can see where our carbs site in the energy chain it is a good idea to see what happens when we eat one and what happens to our energy from them. When you eat a sugar it immediately increases your blood sugar otherwise known as your insulin level.
What happens when you rely on sugar?
When you blood sugar spikes from sugar, chocolate, or pop you will get a bit of a euphoric feeling from this extra unneeded energy but because it is quick pickup it is also a quick drop for energy and thus you will get a sugar crash 30-45 minutes after the initial energy peak, this is very bad and bad for your body. If on the other hand you only had potatoes or bread or rice for your carbs you would have no nice spikes but no crashes either and would feel after a couple days on a very more even keel, you would feel like you energy is pretty good all the time but never to low or to high. This is the key that we are looking for.
Tomorrow I will write more about bad foods just for a nice way to start minimizing them not to scare people away from them. But now you know energy wise why you would rather get you energy from more complex carbs than simple carbs.