Coping with carbohydrates

Coping with carbohydrates

Coping with carbohydrates

“Avoid carbohydrates completely to lose weight” – If this point is on top of your weight loss plan, it’s time to get your facts about carbohydrates sorted out.

What are carbohydrates?

Your body uses carbohydrates (carbs) to make glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going.

Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

You can find carbohydrates in the following:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Breads, cereals, and other grains
  • Milk and milk products
  • Foods containing added sugars (e.g., cakes, cookies, and sugar-sweetened beverages).

Healthier foods higher in carbohydrates include ones that provide dietary fiber and whole grains as well as those without added sugars.

What about foods higher in carbohydrates such as sodas and candies that also contain added sugars? Those are the ones that add extra calories but not many nutrients to your diet.

What are the types of carbohydrates?

There are two main types of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Simple carbohydrates

Complex Carbohydrates

Starch and dietary fiber are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Starch must be broken down through digestion before your body can use it as a glucose source.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables milk, and milk products. Simple carbohydrates also include sugars added during food processing and refining. What’s the difference? In general, foods with added sugars have fewer nutrients than foods with naturally-occurring sugars.

How can I avoid added sugars?

One way to avoid these sugars is to read the ingredient lists on food labels.

Look for these ingredients as added sugars:

  • Corn sweetener
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrup

If you see any of these in the ingredient list, you know the food has added sugars. The closer to the top of the list, the more of that sugar is in the food.

If you want help with choosing the right kind of carbohydrates in an Indian meal, click here

Other tips for avoiding added sugars include:

  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened sodas.
  • Choose 1/2 a cup of 100% fruit juice rather than a fruit drink.
  • Have a piece of fruit for dessert and skip desserts with added sugar.
  • Choose breakfast cereals that contain no or less added sugars.

Text courtesy: www.cdc.gov
Image: Flickr/creativecommons RovingI

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