Carbohydrates Part 2: Carbohydrate Consumption

In following up from Carbohydrates Part 1, we need to recognize how the structure of a carbohydrate affects our body and, ultimately, our health. In Carbohydrates Part 1 we learned that simple carbohydrates rarely, if ever, have nutritional value. Think of it this way: 250 calories of Twinkies is not equal to 250 calories of spinach. In recognizing this fact, we can state that it isn’t necessarily the carbohydrate that is the problem, but rather is the type of carbohydrate.


Simple Carbs are processed quickly

I’m sure that many of us have had a friend who is a diabetic. I have. At one time my classmate started to look very out of it and he said his sugar was crashing. He asked for a Coke and after taking a swallow or two, within 30 seconds he was almost fine. This is how fast simple carbohydrates are processed and reach the bloodstream.  The analogy I’m going to utilize below is something I have borrowed extensively from Jonathan Bailor in his book The Smarter Science of Slim.


The Police Officer example

I want you to picture a police officer in your stomach. When we eat, this police officer directs the calories where to go and enforces the no speeding zone. Now realize that all calories are used to repair or operate our bodies and when we don’t need to repair or operate our bodies then they are stored as fat.   The officer directs the calories as to what needs to be done:  repair, operate or to storage. He or she makes sure we have enough to repair what is broken, then makes sure we have the fuel needed for operation, and finally seeks to keep us from starvation by storing the leftovers.   But remember my coke example, when simple carbohydrates and some complex carbohydrates approach the officer by themselves they are speeding and even run the stoplight. The officer gets upset and sends them to jail—our fat cells. This also causes your insulin to spike which is part of the diabetic problem.  


Add protein to every snack or meal

While on the show The Biggest Loser, one of the directions given was whenever we ate, whether snacks or meals, that we would always, always, always eat some protein with everything. For a snack, we would have a piece of fruit but also have some string cheese or egg whites, possibly even 10 almonds. There is something about the sugars in fruits and starches that, when mixed with protein, do not get digested at the speed they are processed when eaten without protein.  Based on the above facts, we encourage:

1. Limit your simple sugar consumption.
2. When eating fruits, grains and other starches, consume them with protein.
3. We encourage as a basic guideline that a healthy consumption of carbohydrates is about 45% of our daily caloric intake.  Most of these calories should come from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Work hard to stay away from the simple sugars, they do not help your body.

Bailor, Jonathan. The Smarter Science of Slim: What the Actual Experts Have Proven about Weight Loss, Health, and Fitness. Aavia Publishing, 2012.