Understanding Carbs.

What are simple carbs? All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.
Example of simple sugars are:
■Table sugar ■Molasses
■Jams, jellies ■Brown sugar
■Fruit drinks ■Corn syrup
■Soft drinks ■Honey
■Candy ■Maple syrup

What Are Complex Carbs? Complex Carbs are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in Fiber thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.

Function OF Carbs.
What happens if your sugar storage tanks (muscle & liver) are full and you keep on eating carbs? Any excess glucose that is not used by the body for energy will be stored as fat. The more “insulin sensitive” your muscles are, the more readily they will suck in sugar instead of having that sugar get converted to fat. And what’s a great way to make your muscles more insulin sensitive? Strength training of course! At least half of the grains you consume each day should consist of whole grains, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can consume whole grains on their own, in dishes such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, or as an ingredient within a food, such as whole-grain breads and pastas. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, peas and lentils, also supply complex carbohydrates.

What To Look For On A Nutrition Label
When the label on a specific food claims that it has been “made with whole grains,” it is important to know what to look for. A better label to look for states “100 percent whole grain.” Exploring the ingredient list unveils sources of fiber and other nutrients in a packaged food. Look for foods that list whole grains within the top few ingredients. Additional examples of fiber-containing grains include brown rice, whole-grain sorghum, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, whole-grain barley, oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat and rolled oats.

Remember
•The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.

•Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

When it comes to carbs use your common sense – a few servings of fruit, plenty of veggies (which provide few calories but tons of nutrients), some starch/grains (or a lot if you are very active) each day should help fuel your body and provide the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally.

Try these tips for adding healthy carbohydrates to your diet:

1. Start the day with whole grains.
Try a hot cereal, like steel-cut or old-fashioned oats (not instant oatmeal), or a cold cereal that lists a whole grain first on the ingredient list and is low in sugar. A good rule of thumb: Choose a cereal that has at least 4 grams of fiber and less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.

2. Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks.
Confused about how to find a whole-grain bread? Look for bread that lists as the first ingredient whole wheat, whole rye, or some other whole grain —and even better, one that is made with only whole grains, such as 100 percent whole wheat bread.

3. Also look beyond the bread aisle.
Whole wheat bread is often made with finely ground flour, and bread products are often high in sodium. Instead of bread, try a whole grain in salad form such as brown rice or quinoa.

4. Choose whole fruit instead of juice.
An orange has two times as much fiber and half as much sugar as a 12-ounce glass of orange juice.

5. Pass on potatoes, and instead bring on the beans.
Rather than fill up on potatoes – which have been found to promote weight gain – choose beans for an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates. Beans and other legumes such as chickpeas also provide a healthy dose of protein.

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