12 Weeks to a Healthier You
Week 6 – Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates aren’t the problem in fact they are the body’s best source of energy. They are the easiest macronutrient to absorb because they are quickly converted into glucose for energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Without getting too technical let’s briefly go over the two types.
Simple carbohydrates comes from healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy but you will also find less nutritionally dense foods as well like refined grains (white bread, white rice and traditional pasta), processed snacks, sweets and sugar sweetened beverages. What makes them simple? They are broken down and absorbed quicker into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates, which is great for when you want a quick burst of energy, so it doesn’t make them bad. Fruits and vegetables offer vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, fibre and water which is all good for you. Refined grains, sweets and sodas however are lacking all of these extra nutrients, which is why these foods should be limited.
If you want to feel, look and perform better, the best thing you can do is cut back on refined sugar. Refined sugar encourages weight gain, causes inflammation and spikes your insulin levels which can lead to depression, obesity or sugar addiction. It also irritates the gut, feeding bad bacteria.
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Complex carbohydrates takes a lot longer to digest which means glucose is released slowly allowing you to have sustained energy for longer periods of time, this is why complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Complex carbohydrates not only supplies sustained energy for the body but also offers vital nutrients as well as fibre in order for your body to function at its best.
Dietary fibre is found in plant cells and is tough and stringy it is unable to break down completely within the body and is essential for regulating the body.
Excellent sources of Complex Carbohydrates:
– Wholegrains – rye, spelt and sourdough
– Gluten free grains – quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat
– Starchy vegetables – sweet potato, beetroot and pumpkin
– Low GI fruits – berries, citrus fruits and stone fruits ie plums
Your task for this week
Swap the simple refined carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates