Carbohydrates, carbs, evil creatures, the fat makers – call them whatever you want! Everyone has heard of them since the mass media and the online world are shouting about them every day. Diet programs are telling you – eat less carbs, tv shows are advising you – don’t eat food full of crabs, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on forever. But has anyone ever explained us what those evil carbohydrates really are and how much of them are we allowed to consume? Well, here I am to help you. (Oh and btw, the photo with these mouth-watering sweets was sent to me by my father – just to tease me)
In this article I am going to explain what these carbohydrates actually are and how to consume them properly – without gaining weight or lose weight, for those of you who are concerned.
I’ll try to make this as simple as possible: there are two types of carbs. Let’s call them, the good carbs and the bad carbs.
The good carbs: These carbohydrates are full of fiber, and therefore are digested and processed slowly by our system. Slow digestion means keeping the hunger away for much longer, avoiding sugar strikes in your blood which in turn, prevents you from sugar cravings. Everything that is properly and slowly digested by your body, is less likely to be stored as fat. Good carbs are present in: whole grains (bread, oatmeal, pasta and anything than contains whole grain), fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.
The bad carbs: Anything that contains large amounts of sugar, refined sugar and “white” processed grain is, in a way or another, making you fat. The list of products that contain these components is endless: starting from junk, snacks, cakes, white bread, white rice, crackers – really, anything that is a factory stabilized product. Fruits contain sugar as well – it is called fructose, and it is the “healthy” sugar. Anything that contains the sugar you stir with your tea – is processed, refined sugar.
Now that you know more about carbs, I am going to tell you how to identify the good carbs and the bad carbs on the food labels, and avoid the common mistakes people make when doing their groceries.
Most of the food products (especially in Europe) provide you with a total Calorie amount for the product. It is usually given per serving (25 grams) and per 100 grams. Well here is where you have to pay attention. The food company provides you with a total amount of calories that the product contains – these calories come from various components: carbs, fiber, protein, sugar, fat and alcohol sugar.
So if the product has only 150 calories per serving (which you might think is not a lot), take a good look at where do these calories come from! It might be the case that, for instance, 120 out of these 150 calories come from carbohydrates – which means that this product is not a good go for your diet, it is a carb bomb. This is usually the case with crackers and biscuits.
Sugars, carbs, fats, protein and fiber contents are normally shown in grams on the food label. If you’re attempting at losing weight, or maintaining weight, here is the scale of the daily carbohydrate intake for each of the options:
Carbohydrate intake per day:
(250 – 300 +) grams – This is dangerous for you! If you’re consuming this amount of carbs a day, you’re surely gaining weight Rapidly! It is not only making you fat but also leading you towards cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and what not. You should definitely reconsider your diet in this case.
(150 – 250) grams – You’re steadily and gradually gaining weight. You should reconsider this amount of carbs a day except if you’re aiming at gaining weight.
(100 – 150) grams – The perfect amount for weight maintenance. If you stay within this range, you are not likely to gain weight. This is the healthy amount of carbs a day and the probability of diseases decreases dramatically.
(45 – 100) grams – Gradual and sustainable weight loss. If you combine this amount of carbohydrate intake with a range of workouts or exercises – you are going to lose weight.
(10 – 45) grams – Rapid weight loss, or Ketosis. Ketosis is the so-called state of your body when long chain fatty acids are broken down completely and your body is using your fat storage to feed itself. In other words, you’re starving. I don’t recommend this way of dieting, except if your wedding is in 4 days and you want to lose 3 kg (7.2 Ibs) to fit in your dress perfectly.
To help your existence, I am going to give you a list of products that at the first glance seem healthy and low-calorie, but in fact, they aren’t! I advice avoiding them:
– crackers/ biscuits/ cookies (any type, salted, unsalted, digestive or delicious). They are mainly composed of carbs. No fiber, no protein, nothing nutritious for your body.
– jam and canned fruits. Besides the fact that the majority of canned fruits have lost about 80% of their vitamins, they are full of sugar. Food factories use a lot of sugar during canning and jam production, which is not that good for your diet. I recommend going for reduced sugar options of these products.
– zero sugar drinks. I know! Even if it says that it contains zero sugar, it is impossible that any water on this earth will taste sweet without having sugar in it! In this case the alcohol sugar is used, which is unhealthy and still ends up in your fat tissue!
– dressings & sauces. I strongly advice you to make an effort and eat your food without sauce, or make the sauce yourself instead of buying the easy-to-make powders that transform into sauces and dressings. They are full of sugars, fats and chemicals that don’t make any healthy contribution to your body.
I hope I have been informative and helpful. I truly believe that these are the ultimate diet ESSENTIALS! I sincerely hope that after reading this, many of you will reconsider their daily food habits and make the first step to becoming more healthy!