Carb Habits Are Hard to Break!

April 30, 2012 6:24 pm 0 comments

By Jacqueline Rocke.  Some things are simply irresistible, especially when Will Power is on vacation. Now everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. That’s actually a bible passage found in the Corinthians that can be applied to many areas of life but let’s face it, if it tastes good and it feels good you might as well consider yourself a bug flying straight into a zapper. Carb habits are hard to break. The cravings take over and for a moment it’s no longer sensible you making decisions but the little caveman or woman inside, and it’s not the Paleolithic one either. Most of you already know that simple carbohydrates are from the devil but for the few of you still unaware, allow me to break it down.

Carbohydrates are a large group of compounds including sugars, starch, and cellulose which contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Right off the bat, that does NOT sound nutritious. So, what exactly does our body do with this combination? Well, the liver’s job is to break carbs down into simple sugars, (or glucose), which stimulates the production of insulin in your pancreas which then functions to get the sugar into your body’s muscle cells (as glycogen) so that it may use them as energy.  (Shout out to the pancreas!  Click here for a giggle;-) )

The confusing part is that a carb isn’t a carb. The complex carb is indeed good while the red headed step child in this is simple. The problem with simple carbs is that they cause your insulin level to spike faster as they are used up quickly for energy. So reaching for that toast or candy bar will provide you a quick supply of energy but it is also quickly followed by an energy crash when the “sugar high” ends. Meanwhile complex carbs take longer to digest which means you get longer lasting energy and less of an insulin related response in the body.

The other problem with consuming simple carbs is that too much will cause the body to produce excess amount of glucose, some of which is stored in the liver and muscle cells as glycogen giving you that burst of energy you need for short periods of exercise; however the leftover glycogen is stored as fat. Your body will only tap into that fat reserve to draw energy when you exercise for extended periods of time or participate in strenuous workouts and let’s face it, most of us do not increase our heart rate to 80-85 percent of maximum heart rate during exercise.

Your body can produce energy from fat and proteins alone but a certain amount of carbohydrates are needed for our bodies to function properly.  No intake may cause fatigue, muscle cramps and poor mental function. So what is the solution? Although carbs are a necessity in our diets, you have learned that all carbs are NOT created equal. Stick to complex carbohydrates found naturally in unprocessed foods. Try this experiment out for yourself or with your kids: For two days, when hunger strikes, snack on anything containing simple carbs, calories are irrelevant; the following two days, snack on anything containing complex carbs or proteins and fats. You will notice a considerable change in how often you feel hungry and well as how your energy levels fluctuate. ;)

There are several institutions and organizations each recommending a different amount of “dietary energy” be derived from carbs. One, (that shall remain nameless), even suggests a percentage come from simple carbs or sugar.  Now let me be clear. Your body does NOT need any amount of simple carbohydrates to function properly. With that said, a diet that includes 40% (complex) carbs and 30% (essential) fats and protein intake is a good place to start. Check with your local Sports Nutrition expert over at ISSN by clicking on the “Find a Nutritionist” link; Why go anywhere else?!



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