Why Do We Crave Carbs
Cravings often come when we feel stressed. When you eat carbs, it releases a “happy” chemical in your brain like serotonin. Many of the foods we tend to crave — sweets, white breads, and sodas — are filled with simple carbs that your body processes very fast. This boosts your feel-good hormone levels quickly, but it also causes your sugar levels to spike and drop.
Are All Sugars Bad For You
We can think about sugar the same way as we think about other carbohydrates, which is that there are plenty of foods that contain sugar that are smarter choices, like fruit or yoghurt that have naturally occurring sugars in them. But there are other foods like chocolates, lollies and soft drinks, which are entirely refined. So following a healthier eating pattern would mean being mindful of the types of foods we eat that contain sugar.
How To Cut Down On Sugar
Slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust and wean yourself off the craving.
Cook more at home. By preparing more of your own food, you can ensure that you and your family eat fresh, wholesome meals without added sugar.
Give recipes a makeover. Many dessert recipes taste just as good with less sugar.
Avoid sugary drinkseven diet versions. Artificial sweetener can still trigger sugar cravings that contribute to weight gain. Instead of soda, try adding a splash of fruit juice to sparkling water. Or blend skim milk with a banana or berries for a delicious, healthy smoothie.
Avoid processed or packaged foods. About 75% of packaged food in the U.S. contains added sugarincluding canned soups, frozen dinners, and low-fat mealsthat can quickly add up to unhealthy amounts. The situation isnt much better in many other countries.
Be careful when eating out. Most gravy, dressings, and sauces are packed with sugar, so ask for it to be served on the side.
Eat healthier snacks. Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter.
Create your own frozen treats. Freeze pure fruit juice in an ice-cube tray with plastic spoons as popsicle handles. Or make frozen fruit kabobs using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes, and berries.
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Bread Grains And Pasta
Both white and whole wheat bread contain significant amounts of carbohydrates, as do pasta, rice, and grains such as oats. Its best to limit consumption of these foods as much as possible when on a low carb diet.
Cutting bread, grains, and pasta out of your diet may sound intimidating, since these foods form the base of a typical meal for many people. Eating oatmeal for breakfast, packing a sandwich for lunch, and cooking spaghetti for a quick weeknight dinner can be hard habits to break. Luckily, plenty of recipe websites and cookbooks have been created for people who are trying to meet their carbohydrate goals. Your doctor or nutritionist can also make helpful suggestions on how to structure low carb meals.
Pay Attention To Food Labels
Food labels provide valuable information about the carb content of packaged foods.
Paying attention to serving size is also important, especially when eating foods that may be higher in sugar and have smaller serving sizes than many people traditionally eat.
For instance, cereal packaging and commercials often exaggerate serving size depictions, making it easier for people to eat more than one serving at a time .
Reading food labels and understanding serving sizes can help you make more informed choices when it comes to reducing carb intake.
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Do Not Starve Yourself
No, you dont have to starve yourself to lose weight or be healthy.
While it may sound like common sense not to starve yourself, most people associate diets and healthy eating with having to excessively reduce the amount of food that they eat.
This is simply not true.
When your body experiences a drastic cut in calories, your body starts to believe that it is being starved. This will lead to cravings, hunger pains, and weight retention or gain.
Point is, let go of all preconceptions about quantity and be sure to focus on the quality of the food youre eating! On keto, the goal is to eat high-quality fats and non-starchy veggies.
Bread Is Also Sugar And So Is Pasta
Perhaps youre thinking that you can cut out refined sugar but still eat bread and pasta . Good luck with that. Try eating a plate of pasta at lunch and then working for the afternoon. Youre going to want to sleep. Its okay to want to sleep, but dont you want to kick ass, take names, and sign contracts?
Bread and pasta, apart from being made from grains, and containing gluten, , are generally extremely high glycemic index foods. This means that shortly after eating them, your blood glucose level will shoot up. Your body will then overcompensate with insulin to bring the blood glucose level down. When your blood glucose level tanks, youre going to feel really unfocused, unmotivated, and start to fall asleep.
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Find Alternatives To Flours
There are some flours available to low-carb dieters.
Flours made from nuts, including almonds, acorns, and hazelnuts may be perfect for a low-carb diet. Many people on a low-carb diet also use coconut flour as a replacement.
These low-carb flours are flexible, and people may want to try using them to make everything from fried chicken and pizza crusts to muffins and pancakes, to be able to include these in their diet.
Eliminating carbs from food is one thing, but sugar slips into many beverages, some of which may be unexpected. Sugar-sweetened drinks include:
article posted to The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology also noted that liquids do not make the body feel full as solid foods do.
A person who drinks liquid calories from sugary beverages may not even recognize that they are having extra calories and may still be hungry. Still feeling hungry after consuming empty calories may lead to overeating and weight gain.
One of the easiest ways to cut unnecessary carbs out of a diet is to eliminate sugary beverages altogether.
Water contains zero calories or carbohydrates, but there are also numerous ways to flavor water and give the taste buds a change.
People can try replacing sugary beverages with unsweetened drinks, such as sparkling water, or infuse water with berries for a natural sweetness that also provides vitamins and minerals.
Many herbs, fruits, and vegetables may add some of their flavors to water if people leave chopped pieces in a jug of water overnight.
What Are Refined Simple Or Bad Carbs
Bad or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients, such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals. They digest quickly and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. They can also cause fluctuations in mood and energy and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline.
When you eat refined or simple carbs, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar which triggers a surge of insulin to clear the sugar from your blood. All this insulin can leave you feeling hungry soon after a meal, often craving more sugary carbs. This can cause you to overeat, put on weight, and over time lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Diets high in refined carbs and sugar have also been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity, mood disorders, and even suicide in teenagers.
Stop Limiting Carbs Too Quickly
As you start on your keto journey, your pre-keto goal is to cut your carbohydrate intake to about 25g per day, cutting out all sugars and refined carbs completely.
When you start the keto diet, there are two approaches you can take. Either you could start day one of your goal carb macro set by going immediately cold turkey on carbs, or you could track your normal pre-keto carb intake and gradually cut 50g of carbs per day until you reach your goal.
With the average carb intake clocking in at 325 grams of carbohydrates a day, most people will opt for going cold turkey, especially since its the fastest way to reach ketosis.
Focus On High Protein Foods
If youre a fan of carbs but still trying to cut back, one of the best ways of keeping yourself satisfied is to focus on high protein foods.
Protein has been shown to help increase satiety, which means it helps you feel fuller longer. It may also help you eat less throughout the day .
Additionally, protein has a slightly higher thermic value than fat or carbs, meaning your body requires more calories to digest it .
Adding foods that are higher in protein to your meals can help you feel fuller, fight cravings, and boost your metabolic rate for a brief period.
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Plan Times To Indulge
Completely ignoring cravings can have negative consequences, so it may be a good idea to plan times to eat otherwise restricted foods. This may look like a cheat day or an after-work treat, depending on a personâs dietary needs.
Sticking to a restrictive diet and ignoring cravings may be easier if a person has a planned indulgence to look forward to.
Examples Of Complex Carbs
Some complex carbs are better choices than others. The healthiest complex carbs are those that have not been processed or refined, and include:
- Whole grains such as brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain barley
- Grain-like foods such as quinoa and buckwheat
- Starchy vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn
- Non-starchy vegetables, which includes everything from asparagus to zucchini
- Beans and legumes like lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas
With complex carbs, it’s best to avoid or limit refined grains and processed foods made with them. “Refined” means two of the three elements of each kernel of grainthe bran and the germhave been removed, along with the fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients found in them.
The part of the kernel that’s left is the starchy endosperm. It has less fiber and nutrients, even though vitamins and minerals sometimes are added back into refined grains. Products made with them are sold as “enriched” but there really is no substitute for the natural grains.
Processed foods made with refined grains include:
- Soft sandwich bread
- White rice and pasta
Note that many of these foods are also sources of added sugar, making them even less ideal for managing blood glucose.
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Missing Out On Fiber Which Is A Powerhouse Nutrient
Fiber is critical to overall health, lowering blood pressure, improving insulin health, and encouraging weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar levels and increasing satiety levels, Zanini says.
Problem is, most Americans arent getting enough fiber even when eating carb-rich diets. According to an article published in January 2017 in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, on average, American adults eat 10 to 15 grams of total fiber per day, while the USDAs recommended daily amount for adults up to age 50 is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Women and men older than 50 should have 21 and 30 daily grams, respectively.
When following a low-carb diet, make a point to integrate plenty of high-fiber foods in your meals. Low- to moderate-carb options include leafy greens, berries, legumes, chia seeds, and low-carb, high-fiber breads and tortillas, Sheth says. If you still have trouble meeting your protein needs or you start to experience constipation a sign that your digestive system needs more fiber you can try adding in fiber supplements. The key is using them as supplements dont use them as a crutch to get out of eating high-fiber plants, Sheth says. While fiber supplements certainly deliver on fiber, they dont contain the array of vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables also contain.
Why Is Sugar Bad For You
Added, refined sugars in readily available processed foods are a health risk, not fruit, vegetables, and grains.
Its fair to say that when we mention carbohydrates, most people think of sugar. Although they may be partly correct, as this article shows, not all carbohydrates are bad. In fact, some are essential for the health of many of our body systems.
When we talk of bad sugar, we are mostly referring added sugar or free sugars that are used by manufacturers to flavour foods: these are the ones we need to become more conscious of when selecting foods to eat.
Sugars which occur naturally, like those in fruit, vegetables, and milk, are not harmful like free sugars, and we dont need to reduce our intake of them. Nowadays, most individuals consume more added sugar than the recommended amounts.
For example, its easy to exceed the daily recommended limit for added sugars: a soft drink with lunch, a chocolate bar for your afternoon snack When you add it all up, its easy to exceed the limit.
Its these added sugars that can be detrimental to our health, especially when you look at the science. Studies highlight significant links between diets high in refined sugars and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Diets high in sugar put stress on the bodys mechanism for regulating blood glucose levels. This is managed by insulin, a hormone that signals to the liver, muscles, and fat cells that its time to store sugar as energy.
So Why Do I Need Carbs
Energy! It is the most reliable and sustainable source of energy for our organism. Every cell in our body needs energy in order to function. Some cells NEED glucose as energy source like red blood cells and neurons. All carbohydrates are eventually transformed into glucose in our body and then glucose is:
My next article will explain into more detail digestion, absorption and metabolism of carbs, as well as how the glycemic index works, so stay tuned. And if you were wondering, if fat and protein could also serve as energy sources, the answer is yes. But they play many other roles in the body, while some protein and fat are essential . Whereas there are no essential carbs, we only need them for energy. So if you want the protein you consume to be used for muscle structure, and the fat for hormones, brain cells and membranes, then youll need carbs. Otherwise, your body will just use whatever it finds as fuel when it starts looking for energy. High-fat diets like keto rely on fat as a primary energy source. It is feasible but it is not healthy.
Why Am I Always Craving Carbs And Sugar
Researchers believe that having an imbalance of serotonin in the brain contributes to the development of depression. When youre craving carbs, youre usually being drawn to foods that encourage serotonin production. 5 In a sense, reaching for sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods can be a way of self-medicating depression.
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Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar
When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.
- As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage.
- As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall.
- When this happens, the pancreas start making glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar.
- This interplay of insulin and glucagon ensure that cells throughout the body, and especially in the brain, have a steady supply of blood sugar.
Carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body cant make enough insulin or cant properly use the insulin it makes.
- Type 2 diabetes usually develops gradually over a number of years, beginning when muscle and other cells stop responding to insulin. This condition, known as insulin resistance, causes blood sugar and insulin levels to stay high long after eating. Over time, the heavy demands made on the insulin-making cells wears them out, and insulin production eventually stops.
Myths About Carbs That Are Preventing You From Losing Weight
The minute a beach vacation, a high school reunion or a friends wedding pops up on the calendar, we immediately wage war on carbohydrates.
Definitely no potatoes.
But is banishing carbs really the best plan of attack to slim down, tone up and feel your best? Not to mention, where do carbs come into play when it comes to our overall health? And why have they become the scapegoat for our muffin top?
People love to say things like I am on a low-carb diet or I’m not eating carbs right now. Typically, they’re referring to pasta and bread, but what many don’t know is that dairy, fruit and vegetables have naturally occurring carbohydrates! says Courtney Ferreira, RD, owner of Real Food Court nutrition consulting. If you are eating broccoli, you are eating carbs.
So before you ban every carbohydrate from the menu know the facts.
Carbohydrates are a actually a macronutrient and they play a very vital role to your overall health, productivity and yes, your weight-loss success.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 45 to 65 percent of the calories we eat come from carbs. Since it makes up such a large chunk of our diet, it’s worth it to school yourself on the myths that are misinforming how you consume this important nutrient.
Fact: Yes but it would also mean nixing fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Yes, that plate of steamed veggies you ate for lunch contained carbs.
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