Archive for June, 2015

What causes someone to become overweight or obese?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Risks and causes

 

overweight_or_obeseYou can simply become overweight or obese when you eat more calories than you use. A calorie is a unit of energy in the food you eat. Your body needs this energy to function and to be active. But if you take in more energy than your body uses, you will gain weight. Many factors can play a role in becom­ing overweight or obese. These factors include:

 

1-    psychological_factors_affect_weightPsychological factors:  Psychological factors may also influence eating habits. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. Behaviors, such as eating too many calories or not getting enough physi­cal activity may also contribute to obesity.

 

high-fat_foods2-    Environment and culture: This includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. For example, Americans tend to eat high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition. In addition, most Americans do not get enough physical activity. Some cultural reasons for this include:

I)              Bigger portion sizesII

II)             Little time to exercise or cook healthy meals

III)            Using cars to get places instead of walking

 

overweight-family3-    Genes: Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic cause. Yet families also share diet and lifestyle habits that may contribute to obesity. Separating these from genetic factors is often difficult. Even so, science shows that heredity is linked to obesity.

 

Complications of obesity (what obesity can lead to?)

 Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of:

• Heart disease

• Stroke

• Type 2 diabetes

• High blood pressure

• Breathing problems

• Arthritis

• Gallbladder disease

• Some kinds of cancer

• Problems getting pregnant

But excess body weight isn’t the only health risk. The places where you store your body fat also affect your health.

 

“Pears” vs. “Apples”

body-shapes_Pears_vs_ApplesDoctors, dieticians and nutritionists are concerned not only with how much fat a person has, but also where the fat is located on the body. Women typically collect fat in their hips and buttocks, giving them a “pear” shape. Women with an “apple” shape store fat around their waists. If your waist is more than 35 inches, you may have a higher risk of weight-related health problems.

Men usually build up fat around their bellies, giving them more of an “apple” shape. Of course some men are pear-shaped and some women become apple-shaped, especially after menopause. If you carry fat mainly around your waist, you are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches have a higher health risk because of their fat distribution.

All in all, there is no single factor or cause that is considered solely responsible for the development of obesity. The good news, however, is that while obesity is still considered incurable on permanent basis, it is fully and completely controllable condition. 

Where Do I Find Weight Loss Resources

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The right knowledge can make the difference!

 

 As_obesity_is_growingFinding an excellent weight loss resource is a little more challenging than one would think.  As obesity is growing like an epidemic today, more and more people are turning to seek suitable online and offline weight loss resources. Thanks to helpful enthusiasts, there are now many carefully prepared and well-arranged weight loss resources that you can get help and support from at any time you want to.

 

Following is a short review of some of the major, yet easily available weight loss resources for you.

 

Weight_loss_support_groupWeight loss support group: A weight loss support group can be a great resource for people trying to shed some extra pounds. Emotional support and encouragement is critical when trying to lose weight. Look for opportunities to join a weight loss group that will allow you to share your achievements and frustrations with others who have the same goal. This camaraderie can help you avoid pitfalls, such as emotional eating and bingeing. To find a weight loss support group, you can also check the message board at your local gym or at your office.

 

Alternatively, you can use online support group to find like-minded dieters while retaining some of your anonymity.

 

Free_online_resourcesFree online resources: There are so many great (and free!) weight loss resources available on the web today. You can easily find some websites that could help you reach your health and fitness goals with online personal trainers, tools and information, all within a supportive, online community. Besides tracking calories you eat and your daily food intake, they also analyze how many calories you are burning and your weight loss progress over time. Some of these sites even tell you how many pounds per week you will have to lose in order to reach your weight loss goal by the deadline that you establish.

 

Aned to willi-e_smallFree online weight loss programs: There are many fitness and weight-loss sites that offer an abundance of information for free. They provide meal plans complete with nutrition information, daily exercise routines and exercise videos to help you in your weight loss goals. Some of these sites even include features like weight loss tracking, forums, free meal-plans, free grocery lists To sign up for these programs, you simply need to go to the website, enter your information and get started.

 

Also be sure to check out the blogs, groups and discussion forums to share and exchange weight loss news and views with others.

 

Young_lady_with_centimetr_in_weight loss conceptFree weight loss help: Most diets are expensive, but why spend the money when you can get free weight loss help? There is a plethora of free weight loss information at everyone’s disposal. For example, you can get free weight loss help at your local library. There are many diet books and weight loss DVDs to check-out for free. You can also check out community service centers in your area. Most cities offer some kind of free or inexpensive diet and fitness help. Call your city hall or ask your doctor about organizations in your area that will help you lose weight for free. And yes, you can also connect with others in your neighborhood and get free weight loss help. You will make new friends who are dealing with similar issues. Listening to others and sharing your story will help you overcome many of your food addiction struggles.

 

In short, there are plenty of opportunities to get exposure to some really great weight loss resources. Keep searching and keep having fun while you’re at it.

phen375

Do Carbs make you fat?

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Revealing the reality…

Low-Calorie-DietsWith millions and billions of people all around the globe seeking to lose weight and consume the ideal, low calorie diets, there have been also lot of myths associated with fitness and health and unfortunately many people still adhere to them. In reality, believing these rumors can actually do the opposite as several people often end up gaining weight instead of losing, causing more harm than good.

 

low_calorie_dietsThe best way to prevent yourself from these myths is to keep yourself informed and, for that, you need to only believe data from credible and reliable sources. Read on to rediscover a common myth associated with eating carbohydrates and weight loss i.e. to lose weight, you should definitely avoid carbs. This article will not only serve as your concise guide to reveal the reality but will also help you differentiate between fact and fiction.

 

 Do carbs make you fat?

harvard20food20pyramidAccording to many people, foods high in carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) should necessarily be avoided to lose weight.

 

Differentiating between the truth and fiction

calories_(not_carbohydrates)_make_you_fatIn reality, however, calories (not carbohydrates) make you fat. Carbohydrates, being an essential source of energy, are necessary for a balanced diet and they only become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat pings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise.  In fact, if consumed in moderation, carbs can even help you shed pounds.

 

 Carbs tips for You

          –  All you have to do is keep your calorie intake in check and eat carbohydrates in moderate                            quantities.

          –   Start by reducing them by 85% the first week then 75% the next week and so on until you have                      modified your carbohydrate portion size to support weight loss.

          –  Choose foods like beans, cereals, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

          –  All carbohydrates are not equal e.g. sugar and white flour are very high in carbohydrates. Avoid                  white pasta,  white bread and white rice as these are just “empty carbs” with no nutritional value.

          –  Avoid all processed carbohydrates e.g. high-fat, high-salt and highly sugared processed                              carbohydrates.

          –  Artificial juices and sweetened soft drinks contain additional amounts of sugar (carbohydrates)                    and are best avoided.

           –  If there is a high carbohydrate food that you simply must have, make it something you only have                   once a week, and keep it to a single portion.

           –  It is recommended to eat carbs earlier in the day as it gives your body time to burn them off                          before the end of the day. 

 

Postpartum-weight-LossIn short, carbohydrates are one of the main ways your body produces energy. Without energy, you can not have the desire or stamina to exercise and everyone knows that exercise is essential for weight loss. Therefore, you do not need to avoid carbs completely. All you need to do is consume recommended types of carbohydrates and in moderate quantities. 

Does your waist size pose any direct danger to your health?

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A fact-based revelation…

 

Introduction

waist_sizeWaist size has been linked in the past with heart disease and diabetes. But few studies have looked at the link between waist circumference and risk of death from any cause across different categories of BMI or for the huge waistlines that are becoming increasingly common. It appears a big waist nearly doubles a person’s risk of an early death from many causes, such as cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness and the risk is increased even among people who aren’t overweight. In other words, by packing on only a few extra pounds, you could significantly increase your risk of premature death.

In fact, for women, the association between a plus-size waist and greater risk of early death was strongest in those with a normal body mass index, or BMI, according to a study involving more than 100,000 people.

It should be noted that waist circumference is strongly related to the amount of fat tissue deep in the abdomen which is a particularly bad place to have fat. This deep layer of visceral-fatfat, called visceral fat, wraps around internal organs in the abdomen. It’s considered far more “pathogenic,” or more likely to cause disease than subcutaneous fat (fat just beneath the skin that a person can pinch). Some researchers say visceral fat is so metabolically active, it should be considered an organ unto itself. Visceral fat is linked with higher circulating levels of cholesterol, insulin and substances that cause inflammation.

This pattern of increasing risk with increasing waist size seems to be true in every category of weight, including normal weight, overweight and obese. Even if your weight is considered normal for your height, and you haven’t noticed a big weight gain, if your waist size is starting to increase; if you’re having to move into a bigger pant size;  that’s an important sign that it’s time to start eating better and exercising more.

The waist-to-hip measurement

the_waist-to-hip_ratioAccording to researchers, the best way to predict heart attack risk and other obesity-related diseases is a measurement that divides the circumference of your waist by your hips. If you’re a woman, the waist-to-hip ratio should come out as no more than 0.8. Men have a little more wiggle room: a healthy waist-to-hip ratio for them is 0.95.

This means, if your belly has bulged out enough to catch up to the size of your hips, you should start worrying about your heart, experts say. In other words, fat on a woman’s hips doesn’t seem to increase risk, whereas a beer belly does. This fat stored in the belly is the most dangerous type of fat in our bodies.

The waist-to-hip measurement is likely to catch people at risk for fat-related diseases who might otherwise think they were at a healthy weight, based on their BMI scores. It’s quite possible to have an acceptable BMI and still have some belly paunch.

Therefore, you can be thin and still have too much fat!

Act now before it’s too late!

Phen375

The link between BMI & obesity… How much and how?

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

BMI_&_obesityBMI is a tool that is often used to determine whether a person’s health is at risk due to his or her weight. It is a ratio of your weight to your height.

Health experts agree that you may gain health benefits from even a small weight loss if:

 

You are obese:  You are considered obese based on your body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

You are overweight: You are considered overweight based on your BMI and have weight- related health problems or a family history of such problems. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

You have a big waist: You have a waist that measures more than 40 inches if you are a man or more than 35 inches if you are a woman.

 

How much do I need to lose?

How-Much-Protein-Do-I-Need-Lose-WeightA weight loss of 5 to 7 percent of body weight may improve your health and quality of life, and it may prevent weight-related health problems, like type 2 diabetes. For a person who weighs 200 pounds, this means losing 10 to 14 pounds. However, even if you do not need to lose weight, you should still follow healthy eating and physical activity habits to help prevent weight gain and keep you healthy over the years.

You must also remember that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.

 

The golden formula to lose weight

The_golden_formula_to_lose_weightTo lose weight you need to remember the time-tested, recommended and yet the simplest formula i.e. you need to take in fewer calories than you use. You can do this in a number of ways such as:

– By creating and following a plan for healthy eating and a plan for regular physical activity
 
– By choosing to follow a formal weight-loss program that can help you make lifelong changes in your eating and physical activity habits.

 

 

Last but not least, weight loss and fitness is not just limited to achieving and maintaining an ideal BMI. It also involves a lot of other factors as well such as expecting a clear cut reduction in the risk of diabetes, heart disease and various other disorders. It also means living a physically active and healthy lifestyle with an overall improved sense of general well being. And above all, it means living life to its fullest.

Tesofensine Is the new anti-obesity pill safe choice for weight loss?

Friday, June 5th, 2015

 

What is Tesofensine?

TesofensineTesofensine is a currently under-developed but soon-to-be-launched anti-obesity drug that is considered as one of the most potential weight loss medications made and used as of today. According to a study published in the medical journal called Lancet (issue 2008; 372: pages: 1906-13), Tesofensine was first given to elderly people who had Alzheimer and Parkinson disease patients, who significantly dropped some pounds after using the medication for 6 months.

How does Tesofensine work?

tesofensineTesofensine essentially works by blocking certain specific neurotransmitters (hormones) in the brain. This eventually leads to suppressed or reduced appetite and hunger. Hence, a person does not eat much and yet does not feel hungry as he or she will, otherwise.

The drug also seems to reduce overall body mass, which is considered one of the most important determinants of your body weight.
Is Tesofensine safe?

Unfortunately, even during this published study, Tesofensine did show some significant side effects such as: increased heart rate (abnormally fast pulse) and high blood pressure, as well as reduced muscle mass of the body. It should be remembered that, ideally, any quick weight loss pill should aim to reduce the “fat mass” of the body, leaving the “muscle mass” intact. This was, however, not the case with Tesofensine and it also significantly caused reduction in the much-needed muscle / protein mass.

Some other side effects associated with the use of Tesofensine were dry mouth, headache, nausea, insomnia (lack of sleep), diarrhea and constipation. The study also found that as many as 13 % of the total obese people who took part in the study had to withdraw from the research because of the same safety issues.

For the same reasons, researchers agreed at the end of the study, that Tesofensine needs more clinical research, testing and monitoring, as many of the undesirable effects were found to be potentially hazardous.

Conclusion

Therefore, based on the on the facts and discussion, it is logical to conclude that no medical treatment to date (especially the allopathic drugs) is free of side effects or undesirable potential. In fact, if used for a long period of time, such drugs can even lead to serious health complications and would also tremendously increase your spending on the overall health costs. 

Measuring your body weight… Your first step towards an ideal figure!

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

 

ideal_figureDo you know that everyone needs a certain amount of body fat for stored energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions?

As a rule, women have more body fat than men. Most health care providers agree that men with more than 25 percent body fat and women with more than 30 percent body fat are obese.

Measuring the exact amount of a person’s body fat is not easy and various traditional and modern methods and ways have been implemented from time to time to measure the extent of one’s obesity or being overweight. Some of these methods are as under:

 

DEXA

person-on-scaleThe most accurate measures are to weigh a person underwater or to use an X-ray test called Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA).  However, these methods are not practical for the average person, and are done only in research centers with special equipment.

 

 

Thickness of subcutaneous fat

Thickness_of_subcutaneous_fatThere are simpler methods to estimate body fat. One is to measure the thickness of the layer of fat just under the skin (sub cutaneous) in several parts of the body. This method is commonly used at health clubs and commercial weight loss programs.

 

 

 

Electric current

bioelectrical-impedanceAnother method of measuring obesity involves sending a harmless amount of electricity through a person’s body.  Results from this method, however, can be inaccurate if done by an inexperienced person or on someone with severe obesity.

 

 

 

 

 

Weight for height tables

weightTableBecause measuring a person’s body fat is difficult; health care providers often rely on other means to diagnose obesity. Weight-for-height tables, which have been used for decades, usually have a range of acceptable weights for a person of a given height. One problem with these tables is that there are many versions, all with different weight ranges. Another problem is that they do not distinguish between excess fat and muscle. A very muscular person may appear obese, according to the tables, when he or she is not.

 

BMI

bmi-non-optimal1In recent years, body mass index (BMI) has become the medical standard used to measure overweight and obesity. BMI uses a mathematical formula based on a person’s height and weight. BMI equals weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI = kg/m2). Depending on the specific values or range of BMI scale or measurements, a person can be individually yet easily classified as overweight, obese or of normal weight.

 

BMI Classification of body weight

bmi-chartOverweight: A BMI of 25 to 29.9 indicates a person is overweight.

Obese: A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

However, like the weight-to-height table, BMI does not show the difference between excess fat and muscle. BMI, however, is closely associated with measures of body fat. It also predicts the development of health problems related to excess weight. For these reasons, BMI is widely used by health care providers.

Last but not least, measuring the extent of your obesity or body weight is the first calculated step towards achieving and maintaining an ideal weight and smart body. If you make sure this first step is the right one, your ultimate destination shall not be much far then.

Lucky 7 tips to lose weight fast It takes “SMART” to become SMART

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

lose_weight_fastFor many, losing weight is not the only fitness objective. They want it fast enough also want it to stay on permanently. Following are some of the recommended fitness and nutrition rules that could help you achieve your weight loss goals steadily yet quickly:

 

 

1-    Be SMART

increase_your_physical_activityDid you know that the term SMART is an abbreviation for being “Specific, Measured, Appropriate, Realistic, and Time-bound” about what you plan to achieve?

 

Let’s assume, if your goal is to increase your physical activity, then write down the type of activity you plan to do, how many times you can realistically do it each week, and for how long each time. Start with small, short, and easier goals, and work your way up.

 

2-    Be active

walkingYou need to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, most days of the week to help burn up extra calories. But give yourself credit for the activities that you’re already doing.  Do remember, common activities such as climbing stairs, pushing a stroller, gardening, and walking all count as physical activity. Just make sure you do enough of them.

 

 

3-    Make an offer

reach_your_next_goalMake yourself an offer that is too attractive to be refused. For example, before starting to reach your next goal, offer yourself a promise like this, “If I reach my goal this (day, week, and month), I will treat myself to a well-deserved (Fill in a reward here, but not a food reward.).” Think of something you want, such as an afternoon off, a massage, a movie, or even a deposit toward a larger reward. Be creative, set up rewards for yourself frequently, and make sure you give them to yourself when you reach your goal.

 

4-    Keep yourself full

Bountiful-Baskets-Fruits-Vegetables-2Ask yourself, “am I full yet?” The question may take longer to answer than you think. It takes 15 minutes or more for the message that we’re full to get from our stomachs to our brains.

So take a few minutes before digging in for that next helping. Having trouble feeling full?

Eight glasses (8 ounces each) or more of water or other non-caloric beverages daily fills you up and keeps you refreshed. Also, vegetables and fruits can help you feel fuller, especially when eaten raw.

 

 

5-    Keep the record

you_eat_and_how_much_physical_activityKeep a diary of what you eat and how much physical activity you get each day. Then, at the end of each week, record your weight in the same diary. You and your health provider can use this information to adjust your eating and physical activity plan to find the best way to reach your goal.

 

 

6-    Keep an eye

smaller_portionsFinally, keep an eye on your size. You must not forget that we eat most of what is on our plate, no matter what the size of the plate? When at home, try using smaller plates; they will help you take smaller portions. When eating out, share an entrée! Studies show that portions today are often super-sized, enough for two or more people to share.

Does peanut diet really work? Discovering the weight loss benefits of peanuts…

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Background

Does_peanut_diet_really_workFor the past 20 years, a low-fat diet has been almost universally recommended for weight-loss. However, quite promisingly, newer research has shown that a calorie-controlled, higher unsaturated-fat diet may produce better weight-loss results. Recent research clearly shows that a higher unsaturated-fat, peanut-rich, weight-loss diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14% compared to baseline, whereas a low-fat diet does not. This clearly means that the type of weight-loss diet you choose is important for your long-term health.

According to the recent research and studies, a peanut-rich diet is a truly balanced diet and provides a healthy range of “good,” unsaturated fat, carbohydrate, fiber, and protein. This moderate fat diet also allows satisfying foods such as peanuts and peanut butter. Even more importantly, it helps you achieve weight loss and reap cardiovascular benefits.
What is a peanut diet?

What_is_a_peanut_dietA peanut diet typically consists of popular food sources of monounsaturated fats, such as peanuts and peanut butter that may promote better adherence to a calorie- reduced diet intended for weight loss.

 

  • In general, a peanut diet is taken as follows:
  • A handful of peanuts as a between meal snack
  • Peanut butter or peanuts every day
  • Mediterranean style easy to prepare meals
  • Moderate fat intake; not so low that the diet becomes restrictive or dull!
  • Olive oil based salad dressings-no diet foods required
  • A filling eating plan that will keep you satisfied

 

What are the benefits of a peanut diet?

Health-Benefits-of-Eating-PeanutsA moderate-fat diet with peanuts has benefits during weight loss and weight maintenance because it improves the following risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD):

 

  • Maintains “good” HDL cholesterol levels
  • Lowers triglycerides
  • Lowers ratio of “bad” to “good” cholesterol (total and non-HDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol)
  • Reduces risk from sudden cardiac death
  • Lowers risk from type 2 diabetes in women
  • Suppresses hunger
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Protects against cancer

Overall, the peanut-rich diets reduced the risk of CVD by 14% compared to baseline, whereas a low-fat diet did not

It has also been said that eating a handful of nuts more than 5 times per week can significantly reduce risk of coronary heart disease in men and women by 18-51%.

 

How can peanuts help you lose weight?

woman-eating-nutsResearchers from the prestigious Harvard Medical School in USA have now confirmed in the International Journal of Obesity that eating peanuts and peanut butter as part of a Mediterranean, moderate-fat diet can help you to lose weight and keep it off more effectively than the typical low-fat diet. Studies have also shown that snacking on peanuts and peanut butter is a very effective way to curb hunger without making you eat more, so your calories stay low while you enjoy munching. In a more recent study, published in the

International Journal of Obesity, when peanut snacks were given to people daily on top of what they normally ate, participants subconsciously compensated by eating less of other foods, so that their total calorie intakes hardly changed. What this means is that, because the peanut snacks fill you up so much, you’re less likely to be tempted into overindulging on other foods. So this study really shows that, despite the myth, peanuts don’t result in weight gain, in fact they are a great way to control your appetite.

Now why peanuts may help to control hunger is the fact that peanuts have a very low glycemic index (GI) of just 14. The GI ranks foods according to how they affect blood sugar (glucose) levels. Foods with a low GI (less than 55) are broken down more slowly to produce a gradual rise and fall in blood glucose. The slower glucose is released into the blood, the longer our energy levels will be maintained, hence feelings of fullness and satiety will be maintained for longer. Delaying hunger is an important key to dietary control and weight management.

 

 

All in all, since peanuts are packed full of vital nutrients, choosing peanuts in preference to other snack foods can in fact improve your diet overall, as well as help to control your appetite and, hence, lose weight effectively, safely and for long-term. 

Discovering the truth about carbohydrates… Are all carbs equal?

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Are_all_carbs_equal?It’s a well-known fact that a diet rich in carbohydrates is proven way to satiate your appetite and makes you feel fuller. On the other hand, a diet low in carbohydrates can actually cause temporary weight loss. However, this temporary weight loss is not without some serious health risks. This presents a serious diet dilemma of what one should do while selecting a carb diet.

 

The solution to this dilemma is quite simple. All you need to know is “what to eat?” Yes, it’s all about making wise carbohydrate choices.

 

 

Salient features of carbohydrates

Let’s first review what carbohydrates are, where are they found and what do they do for our bodies.

 

carbohydrates-carbsDefinition: Simply speaking, carbohydrates (or saccharides)are sugars and starches, which serve as a fuel for our body systems.
Functions: Carbohydrates are our body’s major fuel for each of the functions that it performs e.g. respiration, reproduction, mobility, circulation and nerve signal transmission (the function of CNS). They actually give our body the required energy for the skeleton, muscles and central nervous system (including brain and spinal cord). The performance and function of our brain, in particular, specifically depends on carbohydrates e.g. functions like learning, thought process, thinking etc., cannot be performed without a continuous supply of glucose from the blood.

 

Sources: The common sources of carbohydrates include fruits (carbs are found in the form of fructose), various vegetables, beans, several dairy products; food produced from grains, and also the sugar, honey and corn syrup.

Types: After digestion, our body converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is utilized by our cells as a fuel soruce. Depending on the same, there are two major types of carbohydrates:

Simple_carbohydrates1)         Simple carbohydrates: These carbs are broken down quickly and easily by the body into glucose.

 

 

 

 

 

Complex_carbohydrates2)       Complex carbohydrates:  These carbs are broken down slowly and take more time to enter the blood circulation.

 

The role of insulin: Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by pancreas, a digestive gland. The main role if insulin is that it controls the blood sugar (glucose) levels in our blood. Once all carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, insulin helps the glucose enter the muscles / tissues’ cells. The remaining glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for future use (this is the same glucose that we use during our exercise / workouts). Any additional / remaining glucose is stored in the body as “fat”.

 

Are all carbohydrates equal?

 

With respect to their structure and food value, carbohydrates can be classified into three types:

simple-carbs1.  Simple carbohydrates: These carbs are made up of one or two sugar units that are broken down and absorbed quickly into the blood circulation.

For the same reason, some modern studies have shown that some of the food belonging to simple carbohydrate group can actually cause acute increase in blood glucose levels which naturally results in more insulin release from pancreas, eventually resulting in enhanced appetite and more risk of fat storage.

Examples: Sugar, candies, honey, syrups, candy, honey, jams, jellies, molasses, juices and soft drinks all contain simple carbohydrates. While fruits primarily have simple carbohydrates, they are also enriched in valuable vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. Similarly, dairy products e.g. milk contain simple carbohydrates along with proteins, calcium and other nutrients. 

complex-carbohydrates2.  Complex carbohydrates (starch): They consist of more than two sugar units. Brown rice and refined (white bread) form are some perfect examples of such carbs. They have a more complex structure and hence, take more time to be digested and absorbed into the blood. For the same reason, they cause only an average increase in insulin secretion which results in stabilization of appetite and only a few carbs are stored as a fat.

Examples: Unrefined or ‘whole grain’ carbohydrates commonly found in whole grain pasta, brown rice and bran cereals take more time to be digested. They also have plenty of vitamins, fiber and minerals which is essential for health and growth.

Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and soybeans contain complex carbohydrates but also have plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Grain products usually have complex carbohydrates. However, they also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Vegetables contain variable amounts of both simple and complex types of carbohydrates and several nutrients e.g. vitamins, minerals and are also a great source of fiber, and water. 

3. Indigestible carbohydrates (fiber). They cannot be broken down by the body into smaller units for whole-grainsabsorption and hence are not an energy source for the cells. However, they are a good source of health especially with respect to their role in promoting better digestion of other foods. They also prevent us from constipation.

It is clear from the above discussion that not all carbohydrates are equal and each type has its own structure, function and role in the body. Therefore, making a wise carbohydrate food choice is essential and should be done in the light of your fitness goal i.e. weight loss, muscle building or just maintaining your fitness.