Monday, July 4, 2011

How to balance Carbohydrate Intake

Source: Mayo Clinic

For individuals who want to get rid of extra pounds, foods rich in carbohydrates are not good news, well, when it comes to losing weight carbohydrates really pose some threats, aside from its starchy content that clogs digestive tract, it is one of the sources of Calories. But our body needs carbohydrates because it provides enough fuel to sustain our energy for a whole day activity. 

So how to understand and choose the right Carbohydrates?

According to Mayo Clinic, Carbohydrates are types of macronutrient found in foods and beverages. Grains are some of the healthy foods rich in carbohydrates. In most manufactured foods, carbohydrates are often added in the form of starch and sugar to energize the body. But there are healthy carbohydrates that naturally occurred in many foods: Fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes are some of the best sources of healthy carbohydrates. But still, carbohydrates are not at all equal or yield healthy benefits, there are some carbo that pose risk in overall health.

Here are tips how to choose the right carbo to reap good result:

Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables - pick whole fresh frozen, canned fruits and vegetables than concentrated juices or fruits
Whole grain foods - Brown rice, whole wheat, rolled oats are excellent choices than that of refined grains
Low fat daily products - Milk, fresh cheese and yogurt and choose the low-fat version.
Beans and Legumes - Best sources of protein too and other vitamins and minerals.

Avoid these foods which are packed with high calories but low in Nutrition:

Foods with added sugars (see the nutrition label in each pack)

...And just how many Carbohydrates do we need?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that our total daily calories should consist of more than 50% of carbohydrates, meaning, we should eat up to 225 grams of carbohydrates daily.

Types of Carbohydrates:

Sugar - The simplest form of carbohydrates and usually occur in fruits (fruit sugar is fructose, table sugar is sucrose and milk sugar is lactose), vegetables, milk and other milk products.

Starch - Occurs naturally in vegetables, grains and cooked beans and peas.

Fiber - Fruits, vegetables, grains, cooked beans are naturally rich in fibers.

Benefits of Carbohydrates:

Energy - Carbohydrates provide energy to the body as a main source of body fuel. During digestion process, sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars and travel into the blood stream which became glucose or blood sugar which pumped the body with enough energy to support daily activities and mental alertness, but unused glucose maybe converted to fats when it is not properly burned, thus having weight gain, so be careful.

Fight Diseases - Whole grains and dietary fibers which are carbohydrates in nature may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

Control Weight - When properly taken as foods, carbohydrates may help control weight gain. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods and other fiber-rich foods help fuel burning engine to get rid off extra calories.

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