Even if you are not diabetic, you most likely are familiar with the terms "insulin" and "glucose" and "blood sugar levels". These are all terms that relate to how you body reacts to and processes the sugar that is ingested. When your body is not balanced and not properly digesting and using the food we eat, then several things can occur. At the extreme end, diabetes, and on the lower end, weight gain. Either way, including the right kind of carbs in your weight loss eating plan will not only help you achieve balance, but also help you lose weight. Let's find out why.
How Do Carbs Become Fat and Mess up your Weight Loss Eating Plan?
Your body's main energy source comes from glucose. All the carbs we eat as well as some of the proteins and small amount of fat are converted into glucose. Whenever we eat, glucose levels will rise and the pancreas gets busy producing insulin to match the extra glucose to help it get to where it needs to go and do what it needs to do. Namely, into the cells to use as fuel. When that glucose makes its way into the cell then the level of glucose in the blood declines causing a feeling of hunger at which time we eat and the cycle starts all over.
So far, so good, right?
But what happens when you eat what is known as "simple carbs" more often than you eat "complex carbs?" This is where your weight loss eating plan can get difficult if you're not aware of what you body does.
You see, when you have too many highs and lows in your blood sugar levels, what was once a normal function of converting your food into glucose becomes a problem. Your pancreas gets kind of tired. It's normal to have some excess glucose converted into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles. And, it's even normal to have some of this also converted and stored as body fat; however, when your body can't convert it back into a usable fuel source (glucose) then you end up with more fat stored than you would like.
Am I a Victim of Genetics or can a Weight Loss Eating Plan Help?
It's possible that your genetics play a part in insulin resistance; however, your genes are not your destiny. Often, with nutritional education and the right weight loss eating plan you are empowered to give you body the tools it needs for healthy weight loss. So let's talk about those carbs.
Simple carbs are those things such as table sugar, honey, corn syrup and the sugar you get from fruit. These are processed immediately by your body and quickly absorbed by the blood. As you can imagine, this short cycle tends to result in those highs and lows followed by another feeling of hunger so you eat again, right?
Complex carbs are those found in beans, veggies and whole grains. They are sugar molecules, but they are attached to protein, fats, vitamins, or minerals. As a result, they are processed more slowly in the digestive tract and have a more gradual absorption into your bloodstream. As you can imagine, this slower pace allows your insulin to respond differently and gives you a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
Think about is this way. Eating a meal high in simple carbs is like running through the shopping mall at full speed, trying to get all your shopping done in less than 15 minutes. It may be fun and frantic, but after you catch your breath you are likely to find that you missed 90% of what you intended to buy, so you have to go through again and again and again.
The complex carb meal is more like going through the shopping mall at a normal pace. Window shopping, picking up the items that catch your eye, trying stuff on, and getting through your shopping list step by step. You only have to make one trip through the mall but the result is you are able to purchase everything on your list and have the energy and stamina to come back another day.
So What's the Key to a "Right" Carb Weight Loss Eating Plan?
While most people are overly concerned about calories when they try to lose weight, a better approach is to eat the right foods. To get more complex carbs into your meals following these tips:
Whole, fresh and unprocessed foods give you the best chance of a weight loss eating plan low in simple sugars.
Read the labels and watch out for ingredients with simple sugars or refined carbs. Caution - they are rarely labeled "sugar" and go by many aliases such as dextrose, glucose, corn sweetener, maltodextrin, malt, lactose, maltose, sucrose, sorbitol, xylitol, modified corn starch and others.
Avoid foods with hydrogenated oils but remember to include those healthy fats into your weight loss eating plan such as olive oil and flaxseed oil. These healthy fats extend the release time for sugar into the blood.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that seems to be a good alternative.