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Carbs vs Carbs!

Carbs vs Carbs!

Low carbohydrate diets were hugely popular in the early 2000’s but have since fallen in popularity. Although great results can be attained sticking to a very low-carb diets,  eventually many become bored of the monotony of this kind of diet. They regain the weight because instinct drives them to return to an unhealthy diet rather than try and find a balance.

Traditional thinking suggests carbohydrates are bad for you.  I say, have an open mind and learn about the huge benefits carbs can have for health and weight loss before deciding on whether to cut them out.

Don’t forget your fruit when planning your carb intake.  Roughly 75% of it should come from fruit and veg.  Which fruits are slow release carbs is another whole blog but if you look for ‘ low-glycemic fruits’ on the internet you can check if your favourites are a good choice or is it time for a change? Remember always eat more vegetables than fruit to keep your sugar intake down.
N.B Glycemic Load represents the relative ability of a carbohydrate food to increase the level of glucose in the blood.
To clarify: The important difference is in how carbs affect your blood sugar.  Sugar is different from other calories that come from protein, fat or non-starchy carbs such as greens. For example, 500 calories of lemonade and 500 calories of broccoli behave entirely differently once they enter your body.  Slow carbs have health benefits, fast carbs can harm your health. 
Sugar muddles up your normal appetite controls, so you tend to eat far too many which then drives your body to convert the excess into body fat.
Good carbs are not only fruit and vegetables.  Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and low-glycemic-load fruits are all full of fibre which is a special type of carbohydrate.  The fibre in these foods help to buffer out their sugar content as well as having health benefits for your digestive system.
If you ate sugar in a quantity equal to that in a cup of blueberries the nutrients, and fibre in the blueberries will help buffer out the sugar, whereas the pure sugar simply raises your insulin levels and plummets your blood sugar, leaving you running for a cake or other quick sugar fixes.

Here is a very simple guide:

Eat freely:

Slow-burning, low-glycemic vegetables should be the basis of your diet. Fill your plate with broccoli, asparagus, spinach, chard, kale cabbage, and more. These are truly an unlimited food.

Eat in moderation:

  1. Whole grains. Brown, black and red rice; quinoa and buckwheat are great gluten-free grains. Black rice has as many health benefits as blueberries and a low-glycemic load.
  1. Fibre-rich, legumes are underutilised in our society. They slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream and help prevent the excess insulin release that leads to insulin resistance. Try red, French or regular lentils; chickpeas; green and yellow split peas; soybeans (edamame is a great snack); pinto, and other beans.
  1. Dark berries. Blueberries, cherries, blackberries and raspberries are filled with nutrients. The richer the color, the more “medicine” you get. Eat as much as one-half cup a day.
  1. Enjoy up to two pieces of the following stone fruits each day: plums, peaches, nectarines and their variants are known as “stone fruit.” They are healthy and full of fibre.

Eat Limited Amounts:

  1. Starchy, high-glycemic cooked vegetables. These include winter squashes, peas, potatoes, corn and root vegetables. Starchy vegetables raise blood sugar more quickly, so they should be consumed in smaller quantities (up to one-half cup a day) and ideally with other food groups such as protein that reduce the overall glycemic load of the meal.
  1. High-sugar fruits. Melons, grapes and pineapple contain more sugar than the fruits listed above, so they should be limited to a half-cup once a week and avoided altogether if you are on a low sugar diet.

This can be a complicated subject.  If you understand enough so that you can enjoy the benefits of your knowledge to improve your diet then no more research or worrying is necessary!

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about this blog.


About the Author

Having been involved in fitness all my life but never being competitive, I was fascinated to learn how simple it is to stay in shape without entering the world of the gym fanatic or elite athlete.​ So after 17 years managing the swimming school and taking rowing classes at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, I decided it was time to do something that would give me an even greater sense of achievement and job satisfaction.

​I studied the mechanics of exercise versus shape and began to understand why so many people who have exercise routines that sometimes seem excessive, never see a change in their shape.

I set up Tessfit which tackles this conundrum and it is a real mix and match offering between nutrition and weight management advice, fitness classes and personal training.

I now work from home and run my classes at Steves Gym in Newton Abbot. It is a great balance and apart from loving my work I now also get to spend valuable time with my family.​.

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