Monday, 14 October 2013

Carbohydrates Are Not The Enemy

I feel like over the last few weeks I have been spending my time reading blogs and neglecting my own blog so here is a little nutrition bite to set me back on track.

Eliminating Carbohydrates from the diet has been a trend in fad diets for years. The misconception when it comes to weight loss and carbohydrates is that they are all bad and will make you gain weight. The truth of the matter is that you need carbohydrates to live. The only food your brain can live off is blood glucose which you get from carbohydrates. Many people don’t realise carbohydrates aren't just in bread and sugary products but they can also be found in fruit and most vegetables.

Grains and carbohydrates provide a vital source of energy that is easily accessible to the body. This makes them effective for fuelling physical activity. Carbohydrates from grains also provide vital nutrients such as vitamins and fibre.

I think when it comes to the grains food group it is all about making smart choices.

-Choose Healthy forms of Carbohydrates. If there is a multigrain option available choose that over the processed white bread or pasta. Wholemeal is the next best alternative. The more refined the flour is (white flour is most refined) the more nutrients are lost. High fibre cereals are also smart choices because they fill you up for longer. Cakes, donuts, and pastries do not fit in the carbohydrate category they are often high in sugar and saturated fat.

-Be aware of portion size. The Australian Dietary Guidelines say that men between the age of 19-70 years should be having 6 serves of grains per day, for females between 19-50 years 6 serves, and for females 51-70 years 4 serves. An example of a serve of grains is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 a medium roll or flat bread, 1/2 cup of rice, pasta or noodles. If you compare these serving sizes of the food you prepare at home or buy at a restaurant it will give you an idea of if you are over consuming carbohydrates.

-Don't be afraid to try something new. There are many different types of grains to choose from. As the saying goes variety is the spice of life. Some you might like to try could be quinoa, buckwheat or barley. 

-Timing of carbohydrate rich meals. Meals that have lots of carbohydrates are best eaten at the time of day where you are most active. For example before or after physical activity or at meals during the day. If carbohydrates are not used as energy they will eventually be stored as fat.

Reducing sugar can be beneficial but it is a different thing to cutting out carbohydrates completely.

When it comes to making food choices I like to use the theory everything in moderation.

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