There are lots of op­tions for avoid­ing carbs

First of two parts.

The Citizens' Voice - - HEALTH SCIENCE -

We are two weeks into the new year and many of you are work­ing hard to hold onto the No. 1 res­o­lu­tion: to lose weight. So to­day, you might be able to use some ad­vice on prac­ti­cal ways to sat­isfy hunger with healthy snacks.

You’ve prob­a­bly no­ticed a lot of at­ten­tion lately be­ing paid to sugar. In fact, some peo­ple have de­cided to avoid all re­fined sug­ars with the goal of im­prov­ing their health and well­ness. Terms like “sim­ple sug­ars” and “sim­ple carbs,” which are pur­ported to be bad, and “com­plex carbs,” pur­port­edly good, are be­ing used ad nau­seam.

While med­i­cal re­search does not sup­port the value of a short-term “sugar cleanse,” it may have value for an­other rea­son. For ex­am­ple, it would be very

ben­e­fi­cial to en­gage in a sugar cleanse for the pur­pose of chang­ing your palate with the hope of de­vel­op­ing longterm healthy eat­ing habits. What is a sim­ple sugar (car­bo­hy­drate)?

Sug­ars are one of three types of car­bo­hy­drates (starches and fibers are the oth­ers). A carb is sim­ple or com­plex based on its chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion and how it is pro­cessed in the body. It gets a lit­tle com­pli­cated, be­cause some foods have both sim­ple and com­plex carbs.

Typ­i­cally, sim­ple carbs are chem­i­cally more ba­sic, and there­fore they are bro­ken down more eas­ily and serve as a quick source of en­ergy. Some of these carbs are nat­u­rally sim­ple (like fruit and milk) while oth­ers are pro­cessed or re­fined sug­ars such as those used in candy, soda and baked goods.

To de­ter­mine whether a food prod­uct has good or bad sim­ple sugar, you must also know how much fiber, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als are in the food. A food with a higher sugar con­tent com­bined with a low fiber, vi­ta­min or min­eral con­tent will not be as healthy as a food with the same sugar con­tent but high fiber and vi­ta­mins or min­er­als. For ex­am­ple, a candy bar, which is high in sugar with­out fiber or vi­ta­mins or min­er­als, is not as healthy as a fresh or­ange, which con­tains fiber, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als along with its sim­ple sugar (fruc­tose).

Most candy prod­ucts, nondiet soft drinks, cook­ies and cakes, iced tea and le­mon­ade with sugar, en­ergy drinks and ice cream are sim­ple carbs.

What is a com­plex sugar (car­bo­hy­drate)?

Com­plex carbs have a more com­pli­cated chem­i­cal makeup and take more time for the body to break down for use as en­ergy. There­fore, these are con­sid­ered “good” carbs be­cause they pro­vide a more even dis­tri­bu­tion of en­ergy for the body to use dur­ing ac­tiv­ity. They cause a more con­sis­tent and grad­ual re­lease of sugar into the blood­stream — as op­posed to peaks and val­leys caused by sim­ple carbs — and pro­vide en­ergy to func­tion through­out the day. Good carbs also have the added ben­e­fit of pro­vid­ing vi­ta­mins, fiber and min­er­als that are miss­ing from sim­ple carbs. Ex­am­ples of com­plex carbs:

Whole grains: buck­wheat, brown rice, corn, wheat, bar­ley,

oats, sorghum, quinoa, breads and pas­tas made with whole grains.

Dairy: low-fat yo­gurt, skim milk.

Nuts, seeds, legumes: lentils, kid­ney beans, chick­peas, split peas, soy beans, pinto beans, soy milk. Fruits and veg­eta­bles:

po­ta­toes, toma­toes, onions, okra, dill pick­les, car­rots, yams, straw­ber­ries, peas, radishes, beans, broc­coli, spinach, green beans, zuc­chini, ap­ples, pears, cu­cum­bers, as­para­gus, grape­fruit, prunes.

NEXT WEEK: A look At healthy low-carb snacks.

PAUL J. MACKAREY, P.T., D.H.SC., O.C.S., is A doc­tor in health sciences spe­cial­iz­inm in or­tho­pe­dic And sports phys­i­cal ther­apy. He is in pri­vate prac­tice And An As­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal medicine At Geis­in­mer Com­mon­wealth School of Medicine. His col­umn Ap­pears ev­ery Mon­day. Email: drp­[email protected] msn.com.

dr. Paul Mackarey Health & Ex­er­cise Fo­rum

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