Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why I Eat Carbohydrates

It's no mistake that carbohydrates are still the foundation on which the food pyramid builds. Although the pyramid has changed over the years this has not. Foundation Good Carbohydrates next Proteins. Then Dairy, Vegetables, Fruits, and oils sparingly. IN THAT ORDER.

Today I'm going to focus on Carbohydrates. Why? Well it's the foundation. It's what gives you energy both immediate and sustained.

Simple Carbohydrates
    Simple carbohydrates are shorter chains of sugars, usually coming from food items with a noticeably "sweet" flavor. Candy, fruit and sports drinks are all examples of simple sugars.

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Simple Carbs Are Shorter Chains Of Sugars.
    They provide short term energy and are quickly broken down by the body. Hence they don't make you feel satiated for very long.

Complex Carbohydrates
    Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are longer chains of sugars predominantly coming from foods without such a noticeably sweet flavor, such as rice, bread, potatoes, oats, pasta, and things of that nature.

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Complex Carbs Are Longer Chains Of Sugars.
    In general, since the body takes a little longer to break these down, they give you energy for a longer period of time than do their simple sugar counterparts.

It's important to get these complex carbs because you need to have sustained energy and quality energy in reserves. When you put your body into action, any action like getting your kids ready for school or running up your stairs to get something that energy has to come from somewhere.

Adding Good Carbohydrates

For optimal health, get your grains intact from foods such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and other possibly unfamiliar grains like quinoa, whole oats, and bulgur. Not only will these foods help protect you against a range of chronic diseases, they can also please your palate and your eyes.

Until recently, you could only get whole-grain products in organic or non-traditional stores. Today they are popping up in more and more mainstream grocery stores. Here are some suggestions for adding more good carbohydrates to your diet:

  • Start the day with whole grains. If you're partial to hot cereals, try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. If you're a cold cereal person, look for one that lists whole wheat, whole oats, or other whole grain first on the ingredient list.
  • Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks. Check the label to make sure that whole wheat or another whole grain is the first ingredient listed.
  • Bag the potatoes. Instead, try brown rice or even "newer" grains like bulgur, wheat berries, millet, or hulled barley with your dinner.
  • Pick up some whole wheat pasta. If the whole grain products are too chewy for you, look for those that are made with half whole-wheat flour and half white flour.
  • Bring on the beans. Beans are an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates as well as a great source of protein.
Learning about carbohydrates can be very confusing. There is a lot of information out there. I've given you basic information and really that's all you need to know. But if you want to search more here is a good article to get you started.

Check out the worksheets to see how many servings of carbs you should be getting for your calorie range. If you feel like you're lacking energy when it's time to get up and go and it's not from lack of sleep you may be lacking proper energy storage.


  1. Thanks Audrey for this good info on carbs. I plan to try the half and half pasta sometime soon and I want to be more bean inclusive too. I use black beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans, but there are others I need to try too. Recipes anyone?

  2. This was a great post Audrey! Very informative. I've always struggled with the idea that we have to avoid carbs because they're "bad". Obviously they're important if they are the base of the food pyramid, it's just a matter of getting the right kind.

  3. Great post, Aud! That really cleared up some things for me.

    When I went to my pyramid, I was thrilled to find that graham crackers were an acceptable snack in this category! Totally made my day.

  4. This is a great post! I'm just curious as to how you got so knowledgeable? Trainer Momma once again did a great post on this as well. I keep trying to find the exact link, but it's the January 27, 2010 post. Picking a whole wheat product can be so confusing. Even when it says whole wheat doesn't mean it's necessarily 100% whole wheat. Anyway, read her post. It might clear up more questions and help us make better food choices.

  5. Hey Audrey, is there a way to put me on the e mail list to be notified when people post or make comments? I tried to do it myself, but I think the blog administrator has to do it.

  6. Your da bomb Audrey, great to apply it...that's the trick.

  7. How do you do it? You are so full of knowledge! Thanks for all the tips.