Safe Weight Loss and Carbohydrates
Safe weight loss and carbohydrates go together. Carbohydrates tend to be the most varied of the food groups. Too many carbohydrates consumed will trigger excess insulin secreted into your bloodstream which causes the body to store fat. As a result, some safe weight loss programs tend to isolate carbohydrates as a villain and think that the best route to safe weight loss is to completely eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. It is an attractive theory because, as a participant, you are allowed to load up on protein. Steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner! However, safe weight loss can also occur if proper amounts and differing groups of carbohydrates are consumed at proper levels along with protein and fat. By properly combining foods, you can still have it all and experience weight loss. You may lose weight by just eating steak all day. A friend of mine lost weight by eating popcorn for 30 consecutive days. But, have you stopped to consider how much a body is penalized by depriving it of the proper materials needed to maintain energy, immunity, tissue, muscle, bone, etc.?
Carbohydrates include starches such as potatoes, bread, sugars, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate. As you can see, most carbohydrates are derivatives of plants. Only milk and milk products are animal-derived.
Simple Carbohydrates And Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide energy to bodily cells. They are the chief source of blood glucose which is the major fuel for bodily cells and the only form of energy required for the brain and red blood cells. All carbohydrates – both simple and complex – are converted into glucose in the small intestine. Glucose then proceeds to the liver where it is processed into glycogen, is stored by the liver, then the liver converts it back to glucose as the body needs it. Excess glucose from carbohydrates are converted by the liver into fatty acids and stored in the body as fat.
Carbohydrates and Insulin Levels
Carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels in different ways. When a carbohydrate is consumed, blood sugar levels rise which prompts the pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin’s purpose is to maintain proper blood sugar levels so it, in effect, counterbalances the rising effect of blood sugar levels initiated by the consumption of carbohydrates. If excess carbohydrates are consumed, large quantities of insulin are secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas. After blood sugar levels reduce to normal, excess insulin may still be evident. Excess insulin will cause the body to store fat which is why some safe weight loss programs promote a no-carbohydrate diet such as the Dr. Atkins Diet.
The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index is a good tool to use en route to your safe weight loss regimen or if you want to just stay aware of your level of carbohydrate intake. It measures the blood sugar response to various carbohydrates. A high glycemic index scores 70+; a moderate glycemic index scores 40-69 and a low glycemic index scores less than 39.
Let’s review the carbohydrate list to see where our popular foods score:
Starches = 110. Refined starches are considered to be high-glycemic foods and include rice, corn, wheat, white potatoes, bagels, pastas, cookies, cake, muffins, chips, crackers, popcorn, baked potatoes and rice cakes.
Sugars = 80-90. Moderate to high glycemic foods such as table sugar, candy, honey, molasses and rice syrup.
Dark Chocolate = 63. Moderate glycemic. Milk chocolate has a higher glycemic value because it contains more sugar.
Fruits = 40-75. Low to moderate glycemic and includes apples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, figs, berries and pears.
Vegetables = 20-40. Low glycemic and includes all vegetables including yams and sweet potatoes. Not included are corn and white potatoes.