1.27.2014

Living Healthy and Happy: Those Crazy Carbohydrates


No matter what you think or have heard about carbohydrates, they have a function in our bodies. You cannot completely take carbohydrates out of your diet, you actually need carbohydrates for your body to function. One important organ that needs carbohydrates to function is your brain. I don't know about you, but my brain needs all the help it can get. 

What do carbohydrates do for our bodies?  Carbohydrate foods provide a quick source of energy or calories for out bodies to carry out body system processes and movement. 

What do carbohydrates do for our health?  Carbohydrate foods (bread, cereals, fruits, some vegetables, milk, alcohol and desserts) start to digest on your tongue with saliva and quickly enter the bloodstream to provide glucose to our body systems. Carbohydrates provide important energy to our muscles for movement and encourages our nervous system to work efficiently, especially brain function. Basically, you cannot run on all 4 or 6 cylinders (depending on the type of vehicle you are) without carbohydrates. If you notice your thinking is fuzzy, your brain needs some fuel. Adequate carbohydrate intake also keeps your blood sugar levels stable which in turn can help keep hunger and cravings under control.

What kind of carbohydrates should you eat?  The more "whole" the grain the more healthy. The first ingredient in any packaged carbohydrate food should be a whole grain (whole wheat for example). If it says enriched, it is not whole and you really should not eat it. Guess what?  There is not one whole grain in the ingredient list of a candy bar. Whole grains mean fiber. Fiber means health because it keeps you fuller longer, aids in healthy digestion and can help with cholesterol control. My rule of thumb: it should have 3 grams of fiber per serving or it doesn't go in my grocery cart. Foods I really encourage people to stay away from are foods with sugar, white flour and alcohol. Or at least very minimal intake. 

This group of foods is the one group that really influences our ability to lose, maintain or gain weight. If you want to know how much is right for you, call me!  

For more information on how to start living YOUR healthy life and an individualized plan for you, call or email me at 515.285.7266 | acundiff@hy-vee.com