Each day I pass the local In-N-Out Burger I smell those fries! I know you can relate. And yes, I am normal – I LOVE CARBS! As they say, “Always have and always will.” Carbs give us a source of quick energy; that’s their role. Here’s the thing, before I knew the truth about carbs, I would eat any carbohydrate my stomach desired: Ding Dongs®, Peanut M&M’s®, and Lord forbid, those little powdered sugar donuts.
Let’s be honest, when I was in high school, I would eat a package of Ding Dongs® after school (we won’t even talk about the beef fat used to make them). Doesn’t that sound gross? My snacks followed with crackers, bagels, muffins, cereals, the list goes on and on. Perhaps it was the sugar that I really loved. It is something about that substance that makes you and me want more and more. Research has indicated that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Seriously! In a Forbes Magazine article it was noted that Oreos® are more addictive than cocaine and heroine (Sullum, 2013). Sugar has been something that has not only tasted good – I mean REAL GOOD – but it also (or so I thought) has numbed my feelings. That story is for another blog post. For now I want to talk about carbohydrates and why they are not created equal; why my taste buds have changed from refined carbs to a more healthy choice. Please know, yours can too.
The Truth about Carbs and Why They are Not the Enemy
Carbohydrates provide a type of fuel that our body can access easily during exercise. This is important for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Carbohydrates that exist in a variety of the foods we eat fall into three classes: simple, complex (starches) and fiber (indigestible):
- Simple carbohydrates digest quickly and include sugar, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, etc. FRUIT is also a simple carb but unlike “sweets”, fruit provides the body with vitamins, minerals and fiber from which the body can benefit.
- Complex carbohydrates are more structured in design and take longer to digest. This group includes bread, pasta, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, beans, legumes and dairy products.
- Fiber, or indigestible carbohydrates, are not an energy source, yet provide the body with a component for better health.
Look for SIMPLE SWAPS in future posts.