Weekly Wellness: Oh No! CARBS!

2 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, June 29 2015 Jun 29, 2015 Monday, June 29, 2015 1:05:00 PM CDT June 29, 2015 in News
By: Amanda Barnes, KOMU 8 Wellness Coach
loading

I don't think I've ever had a nutrition talk with anyone who hasn't asked me about carbohydrates. Or referenced them as being "bad." Poor carbs. What did they ever do to you? Carbs are important! Our bodies need carbs! Glucose is the preferred fuel for tissues and organs, and is the ONLY source of fuel for our red blood cells. Did you know that? Without enough carbohydrates, the body will break down the protein in its muscles and organs to create usable glucose for these tissues and organs. If you're trying to build muscle, you definitely don't want this happening. It's a bit counterproductive, don't you think?

So what we really need to know is the basics of carbohydrates. And to understand how to use them properly. Right? Right.

Carbohydrates are found in almost all foods, and they provide 4 calories for every gram. Not all carbohydrates are the same and your body will respond differently based on the type of carb you're enjoying.

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates: They're also known as "sugar." This carbohydrate is made of one sugar or two sugar building blocks (glucose, fructose and galactose). Because the chains are short, they're easy to break down, which is why they taste sweet. Simple carbohydrates include sweeteners like table sugar, syrup, and/or honey.

Complex carbohydrates: Can be either "starch" or "fiber." This carbohydrate is made of three or more sugars connected in a chain. They use the same sugar building blocks as simple carbs, but the chains are longer and take more time to break down (which is why they don't taste as sweet). Examples of foods high in complex carbohydrates would be bread, rice, pasta, beans, whole grains and vegetables.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for carbohydrates is 130 grams per day. This is the minimum amount required to fuel an adult's brain, red blood cells and central nervous system optimally.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65% of total calories in our diet-this is a good range for the average person. A good rule of thumb is to eat between 45-50% calories from carbohydrates. And if you're exercising vigorously for more than 1 hour daily (or you're training for an endurance event like a half marathon or marathon), you may want to increase that range to 55-56%.

To determine your carbohydrate needs in grams:

Step 1: Decide what percentage of carbohydrates you need (i.e. 45%, 50%, 60% or 65%). Convert this number to a decimal (for example, 50% is 0.5).
Step 2: Multiply your daily calorie goal by the above decimal value. This gives you the number of calories from carbohydrates.
Step 3: Take the number of calories from carbohydrates and divide by 4 to get the grams of carbohydrate.

Easy, right?

So now we're noticing that maybe, up until this point, we have been consuming more carbohydrates than we thought. (Which may be why we've been gaining weight.) And we've heard that lowering our carbohydrate intake might help with weight loss. If you are going to try a lower-carb plan, here are some tips to make the transition both more manageable and sustainable:

• Deal with blood sugar lows. When starting a low-carb diet, be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar.

• Choose balanced, nutrient-dense foods. Make those carbs count by choosing high-quality carbohydrate foods-like whole grains, fruits and vegetables-that are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Choose high-quality proteins like eggs, legumes, chicken, tofu and lean cuts of beef and pork. Opt for healthy fats from foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, avocados and olive oil.

• Stay hydrated by drinking more fluids. If you're slashing carbs, you'll most likely eat (and digest) more protein. For your body to break down and use protein optimally, it's going to need plenty of water. To help you stay hydrated, here are 25 life hacks for drinking more water.

• Be wary of rapid weight loss. If you shed more than 2 pounds per week on your diet, be careful. You're likely losing more water weight and lean muscle than fat. Up your calories to lose weight at a slow but fat-busting pace.

Whether you're looking to lose or maintain weight, or optimize performance, here are three rules of thumb* to help you choose healthy carbohydrate foods:

1. Choose whole food sources of complex carbs like vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. One-hundred percent whole-grain breads, pasta and brown rice should also be included in this rule. These foods are a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.

2. Eat less complex carbs from refined sources like white rice, white bread and traditional pasta. These foods are more processed, and have healthy nutrients stripped from them-namely fiber.

3. Enjoy simple carbohydrates in moderation. Most sources of simple carbohydrates are considered "empty calories" because they're high in calories but contain low to no micronutrients. They're a likely culprit when it comes to spiking blood sugar. You can consider fruit and milk an exception to this rule because both contain beneficial vitamins and minerals.

*These rules do not apply if you are highly athletic.

More News

Grid
List
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - In the midst of high gas prices on Memorial Day weekend some boaters have decided... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 12:46:00 AM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
BUNCETON- A new fire station is now ready for action in Cooper County. On Saturday, people gathered to celebrate... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 9:06:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After a disappointing season capitalized by missing the postseason SEC Tournament it was hosting, Missouri softball will have... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 8:03:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA- The neighborhood of Ridgefield Road and Wood Hill Road are on high alert after a series of break in's... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 7:18:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Hundreds of cyclists were traveling from Columbia to Boonville for the 10th annual Pedaler's Jamboree. The event... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:59:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - In August 2017, Michael Stephenson moved into his new town home at Aspen Heights for the new school... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:43:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Open pools means play time for many people in Columbia but Parks and Recreation is still hard at... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:42:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Seven people die every day due to house fires. The American Red Cross is teaming up with... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:30:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
INDEPENDENCE - The 87-year-old Independence man reported missing Friday has been reported safe. The Missouri State Highway Patrol cancelled... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people withstood the heat Saturday to support the U.S. armed forces and honor veterans at the... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 3:02:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - For those heading to the lake Memorial Day weekend, Saturday morning is the first day of a... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The counting of votes was underway Saturday following Ireland's referendum to lift the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 6:43:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - New Bloomfield has a new mayor, but it's the way he was selected that has a group... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 9:26:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The ACLU of Missouri is suing the Independence School District on behalf of a senior banned... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 6:35:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Thornbrook neighborhood was without water and electricity for almost two hours on Friday. Columbia Water and... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 5:36:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – Four vehicle crashes have occurred this week along State Road F west of Fulton in Callaway County.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 4:12:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After serving eight years in the United States Air Force, the passion of this veteran for sky travel... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In another day of political theater, the special House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens heard new testimony... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
8am 75°
9am 80°
10am 84°
11am 87°