By Dylan Porras:
I’m guessing we’ve all heard someone say that carbs are bad for you, that to lose weight just cut out carbs and or something along those lines. With this post I’ll go over:
- Refined carbs and how they affect your body
- How excess carbohydrates affect your biology
- What the Glycemic Index is and why it’s relevant
- Recommended strategies to use carbohydrates to your advantage as part of a complete nutritious diet…
- Why Carbohydrates can be beneficial
Refined carbohydrates, also known as simple carbohydrates, include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Some examples are:
- Sweets desserts
- White rice
Refined Carbohydrates are very easy to over consume because they release a similar chemical reaction to cocaine. A pleasure producing chemical. They also taste amazing which does not help. Who really wants to only eat one oreo??
The downside is that excess carbohydrates lead to a spike of glycogen in the blood or hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia results in a spike of insulin or hyperinsulinemia. It is actually hyperinsulinemia that is connected to type 2 diabetes and cardiac heart disease. Sadly this is the leading cause of death in the US. Over 1,000 funerals a day are caused by cardiac heart disease and they estimate that this is over 70% preventable.
All foods are represented by a number on the glycemic index scale. The glycemic index represents the rise of blood sugar after consumption. Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index while most vegetables have a low glycemic index.
To avoid spiking your blood sugar you should avoid having too many simple or refined carbohydrates, examples of carbohydrates that cause a minimal effect on sugar and insulin levels In the bloodstream are:
- Beans & Legumes
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grains
- Rye Bread
Why Carbohydrates Can be Beneficial.
Fiber is a carbohydrate and it provides good contrast between a simple carbohydrate and a complex carbohydrate which is not easily digested. Most fiber enters your body and exits with very little digestion. This is good for preventing diseases like diverticulosis and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking. They estimate that a hundred years ago Americans ate around a hundred grams of fiber a day and people today struggle to get six grams.
Low carbohydrate diets have also shown negative effects on our hormones. Decreased Thyroid output and increase in our stress hormone Cortisol have been noticed on low carb diets.
A study called the Vermont Study, found that T3 (the most active Thyroid hormone) is affected by our carbohydrate intake as well as reverse T3.
T3 helps regulate our body temperature, heart rate and metabolism. Reverse T3 does the exact opposite.
The vermont Study found that a low carbohydrate diet lowers T3 levels & rises reverse t3.
French researchers found similar results when testing high, moderate and low carbohydrate diets.
Carbohydrates are our body’s favorite energy source. Quick energy which is needed for when we workout comes from carbs.
Making sure we are fueling ourselves enough is key for performance. This will all depend on the sport you play and or your activity levels.
Carbohydrate intakes are very different for a young Crossfit athlete than a marathon runner.
What I would recommend to everybody is that they document what they eat and the results that they get and make changes based on what they are observing. The only thing better than that would be a coach who was a professional and educated at this so that that person can help. Ultimately nutrition has one goal and that is to promote healthy living as represented by functionality and measured hormone and micro-nutrient levels in the blood that are most closely correlated with long healthy lives.