There are lots of options for avoiding carbs
First of two parts.
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.