The world of carbohydrates is complicated; some people say that carbs are terrible, while others load up on pasta every night. The truth is that it depends on the person and the correct answer is different for everyone. This is why knowing yourself and your food can be very helpful. This is a problem that people in Rochester face daily. While a food label can give you the amount of carbs contained, there are many more questions you need to be asking. What type of carbs are they? How will I be digesting them? Are they complex or simple sugars? Let’s talk about how to answer these questions so we can be better about choosing our carbs.
Carbohydrates and sugars are the primary energy source of the body. A common metaphor for this would be describing your body as a fire, and adding carbs is the fuel. Just as there are many types of fuel, there are different types of carbohydrates. Each “burns” differently in your body. Simple sugars should be considered the gasoline of carbohydrates; when you consume them, they immediately enter the bloodstream. While at first you may feel energetic (sugar rush), they will burn quickly and only last a very short while.
If simple sugars provide a quick energy, why would I not want them all the time? While simple sugars digest and enter the blood quickly, to be used as fuel they need to enter our cells. A hormone called insulin needs to be released for that to happen. Constantly having your body rapidly release insulin will cause your body to stop making it. Your cells could also begin to ignore Insulin's message to absorb the sugar. When this happens, it is called Type 2 Diabetes. If insulin doesn’t do its job, sugar stays in the blood which causes damage to your body.
Complex carbohydrates are your wood logs. Putting one on the fire takes longer to burn and releases energy over a longer period of time. Your body breaks down complex carbs into sugars which are used for energy. However, this process takes time and the sugars slowly enter your blood. This allows your body to have more control over responding with insulin. It also means, there will be no quick burn and crash.
Choosing complex carbohydrates starts by looking at the food label and the ingredients list. If you're in Rochester, you must be familiar with Wegmans. Wegmans makes sure to have accurate food labels on all their products! If a food label says there are 20 grams of carbs but below it says 10 grams of sugars, that means over half of the food is simple sugars. Processed foods will tend to have more simple sugars while whole grain foods are more complex. Making a switch to whole grain breads and pastas can do wonders for energy levels and blood sugar control. If a food or drink has a lot of sugar and you are unsure why, take a look at the ingredients. Sugar has many names that companies will use to try to hide its presence in foods.
Here at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, your Rochester chiropractor, our nutrition program helps teach people how to read food labels properly. We hope to give you the knowledge and confidence to make healthy food choices. Give us a call today if you would like to learn more about making lifestyle changes for weight loss or diabetes!
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