To Carb or Not to
Fit in a Year - Week
Are you as sick of the carb
debate as I am?
Let's get straight to the heart of it: what are carbs
anyway, and why should we care?
Here's a definition straight from my personal trainer textbook,
so it's simple enough for gym rats, ie, muscle-heads (not me,
of course....), to understand: "Carbohydrates are the
body's main source of energy....Glucose, the end result of
carbohydrate digestion, is essential in maintaining the
functional integrity of nerve tissue, directs the rest of your
body's maintenance, and IS THE SOLE SOURCE OF
ENERGY FOR THE BRAIN under normal circumstances."
That's why we care about carbs.
You need to know there are 2 types of carbs: simple and
complex. Of course you should eat mostly complex.
That's why I encourage you to take all the refined foods out of
your diet. Eat whole grains. Whole fruits.
Whole vegetables. Those are complex.
When you live mainly (50% daily calories) on simple carbs like
most Americans, and mostly from these sources: soft
drinks, cake, doughnuts, pastries, pizza, potato chips,
popcorn, white rice and breads, beer, and french fries, that's
high carbohydrate/low nutrition food. So you get calories
to burn, but no phyto-nutrients, no vitamins, no minerals, no
fiber, no long-term fuels and amino acids for maintenance and
repair. And you don't feel full for very long. Your
body is constantly asking for a fix, because it burns right
through that simple stuff.
On the other hand, if you limit your carbs (think
diet-in-a-book) like the all-protein-have-your
-steak-and-put-butter-on-it-too-plan, your body will use
protein for fuel (it's not stupid. No carb
fuel? Substitute!) which will seriously compromise your
ability to build and maintain tissue. If you do it long
enough, you'll develop something called ketosis---a potentially
fatal condition--because you can't break down
So keep it simple. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as
you can. Think of a serving size as a handful. Mix
it up. Raw is great. Steamed is fine. Eat
some nuts, too. Every day. And keep in mind that a
glass of orange juice is nice, but it's concentrated, so you're
getting more calories than just eating an orange, and you're
getting NONE of the fiber, the phytonutrients, the amino acids
that you get from the piece of fruit.
When you put a grain into your mouth, make it a whole
one. Be sure to check the label on everything processed
for trans-fats....it's still legal to sneak them in there.
With all that in mind, I say: