What are carbohydrates?
Carbs, short for carbohydrates, are a source of energy found in grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods. Carbs supply your body with the glucose (sugar) it needs for energy. Extra glucose is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, your body’s energy reserve. Carbs are divided into two types: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates (also called sugars) are absorbed fast by the body and will give you quick energy. Sugars taste sweet and are found in foods that have little or no nutritional value like soda, cookies, candy, and sugary cereal. Sugars also found naturally in some nutritious foods like fruits and milk.
Complex carbohydrates usually take longer to digest than simple carbs. Just like simple carbohydrates, not all complex carboydrates are created equal. Some complex carbohydrates are also a good source of fiber. Fiber is heart healthy, good for digestion, and helps keep you full. Try to eat high-fiber complex carbs or whole grains such as whole grain breads, brown rice, and bran-containing cereals (like Fiber One®, All Bran® and Raisin Bran®) instead of low-fiber complex carbs or refined grains such as white bread, white rice, white pasta, and sugary cereal.
Are carbs unhealthy?
No. Carbs are found in very nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and milk. Carbohydrates give your body energy. Some people think that eating carbs will make them gain weight, but carbs, just like all other nutrients, will get stored as fat only if you eat too many of them. Many other important nutrients come from carbohydrate foods, so eating no carbs is not a good idea.
Is a low-carb diet safe and healthy?
Your body needs carbohydrates as a source of fuel. If you don’t eat enough carbs, your body will use stored energy (muscle or fat cells). In low-carb diets, only 15% to 20% of energy (calories) comes from carbohydrates. It means that the other 75% to 80% of energy must come from proteins and fats. Both protein and fat are important in a balanced diet, but if you are watching your carbs, you may eat more fat and protein than your body actually needs to keep you full. High protein diets are also high in unhealthy saturated fat (found in meat, whole milk, eggs, cheese, butter, and ice cream). Also, digesting protein takes calcium from the body and requires extra work by kidneys, so some health care professionals are concerned about possible long-term risks of a high-protein diet/low-carb diet.
Do low-carb diets work?
A low-carb diet may help some people lose weight quickly because it limits their food choices so much that they end up eating less. Keep in mind that this weight loss happens because they are eating less food, not because they are avoiding carbs. Remember, it is very easy to gain it back when this diet is stopped. Instead of eliminating carbohydrate foods, try reducing portion sizes and choosing high-fiber carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, fruits, and veggies instead of refined carbs like white bread, white rice, candy, chips, or cookies most of the time.
What does “low glycemic index” mean?
Glycemic index is sometimes used to describe how a food affects blood sugar-the higher a food raises blood sugar, the higher the glycemic index. High-fiber complex carbs have a lower glycemic index than simple carbs or refined complex carbs. Combining a carbohydrate food with another food can lower the glycemic index because it allows your body to absorb the carbohydrate more slowly. For example, if you add peanut butter (protein) to toast (carbohydrate), your blood sugar will go up more slowly than if you had eaten the toast alone.
What is the healthiest way to eat?
A healthy eating plan should include:
• A variety of foods including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
• More high-fiber carbs and whole grains (vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grain bran) than sugars or refined grains (candy, soda, and chips)
In addition to a healthy eating plan, it is important to engage in physical activity such as running, swimming, dancing, yoga, soccer, basketball, tennis, or other activities that you enjoy. A balance of good nutrition and fitness help maintain a healthy weight
With all the hype about low-carb diets going around, it’s hard to know what to believe. Remember, carbs are healthy and needed by the body. Instead of avoiding carbs all together, consider replacing some carbohydrate foods that have lower nutritional value such as cookies, chips, and fries with carbohydrates that are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain breads and cereals, and dairy products!
• Carbs (carbohydrates) are a source of energy found in grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods.
• Carbs are part of healthy eating.
• Choose healthy carbs such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and veggies.
1 pound = a Guinea Pig
1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts
2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs
3 pounds = an average human brain
4 pounds = an ostrich egg
5 pounds = a Chihuahua
6 pounds = a human skin
7.5 pounds = an average newborn
8 pounds = a human head
10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year
11 pounds = an average house cat
12 pounds = a Bald Eagle
15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs
16 pounds = a sperm whale’s brain
20 pounds = an automobile tire
23 pounds = amount of pizza a an average American eats in a year
24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream
25 pounds = an average 2 year old
30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year
33 pounds = a cinder block
36 pounds = a mid-size microwave
40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg
44 pounds = an elephants heart
50 pounds = a small bale of hay
55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner
60 pounds = an elephants genitals
66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year
70 pounds = an Irish Setter
77 pounds = a gold brick
80 pounds = the Worlds Largest Ball of Tape
90 pounds = a newborn calf
100 pounds = a 2 month old horse
111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year
117 pounds = an average fashion model (and shes 5’11”)
118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica
120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month
130 pounds = a newborn giraffe
138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year
140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year
144 pounds = an average adult woman (and shes 5’4½”)
150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary
187 pounds = an average adult man
200 pounds = 2 Bloodhounds
235 pounds = Arnold Schwarzenegger
300 pounds = an average football lineman
400 pounds = a Welsh pony
Fruit chart comparing calories, fat, carbs, and protein. Veggies and nuts coming soon!