Are carbs really the bad guys they’re made out to be? Sure, they’re really just complex sugars that our metabolism breaks down into glucose for cellular energy. The problem is though that we only need a certain amount of cellular energy. How much that is very much depends on what you do with your life. If you exercise a lot, or are a very physically active person generally, you’ll require more cellular energy than someone who doesn’t, or isn’t. Once your cells have enough energy to go about their daily activities, all that excess glucose gets turned into fat and is stored for ‘future’ use. Now, that’s a great concept. It’s one that keeps hibernating animals alive during hibernation. It also used to keep us alive once when we relied on our wits and hunting skills to land our dinner. If we didn’t catch anything, we went hungry. Our bodies then converted the stored fat back into glucose to fuel our cells and off we went to do a bit more hunting.
Then we decided to stop hunting so much, and start farming instead. That meant we generally had a more constant supply of food available and didn’t need to store quite so much fat. Unfortunately, evolution has never quite managed to catch up with the rapid advancement of human kind. We still have that pre-historic ability to store excess fuel as fat. Stored fat though has other benefits. There is a subcutaneous layer of it in our skin that helps regulate our body temperature, and provides protective padding. We also have fat around some of our vital internal organs like our kidneys to help protect them as well. So a certain amount of fat is good, and even necessary. What we don’t need are the copious amounts of it stored around our middle and the toxic type stored around our internal organs.
We all know how bad sugar is for us. Notably, we know how bad processed and refined sugars are for us! Naturally occurring sugars, like those found in fruit and vegetables, are quite OK for most healthy people. That’s because they come packaged with other things that slow down our digestion of them, such as fiber. Therefore, you’ll find most fruit, even the sweetest ones, are low GI and have a low GL.
What many people don’t realize however is that substances like starch, a major component in many carbohydrate foods, is just a complex form of sugar. Once our metabolism has finished processing it, there’s no difference between that glucose and the glucose you get from eating a bunch of candy. Glucose is just glucose, regardless of source. Carbs though are filling and generally, if they come from root vegetables like potatoes, or nuts and whole grains, they’re also nutritious. It’s all things in moderation however. The fact that those foods are so filling is what makes them a popular component in most meals. There’s nothing like a few slices of bread as a side to make a bowl of soup go a bit further. A large dollop of mashed potato or a generous helping of rice also makes a plate of veggies more filling too.
If you subsequently take Fido for a brisk walk around the block, or are in the habit of checking into your local gym several times a week, you can probably withstand the onslaught of large helpings of carbs every meal. If you don’t, you probably should consider cutting back your carb consumption. It may be hard if you’re used to filling up on carb-loaded foods but if you watched the Shark Tank weight loss supplement episode, you’ll have seen that there are products that can help curb appetite. They may be worth investingating!