Carbohydrates Foods in Your Diet
Carbohydrates foods in your diet are essential for life. Your body’s blood and brain need a constant source of glucose because they can not produce the glucose themselves. The carbohydrates foods in your diet supply the needed glucose to both. If you decide that you are going to ignore good nutrition and decrease the carbohydrates foods in your diet, your body will start to metabolize lean mass to provide the needed glucose to all of your cells. This metabolism of lean mass is not healthy to your body; and many many people do not realize the danger of drastically cutting the carbohydrates foods in your diet. The American Dietetic Association set the minimum amount of carbohydrates foods in your diet at 130 grams per day.
This minimal carbohydrate foods intake is established only to maintain the basic energy needs to supply the brain with enough glucose to function. Depending on your activity level, body size, other macronutrient intake; the carbohydrates foods in your diet need to be adjusted adequately.
Glycemic Level of the Carbohydrates in Your Diet
Another factor that needs to be addresses is not just the total amount of carbohydrates foods in your diet, but also the rate at which these carbohydrates foods can be digested and absorbed. The carbohydrates foods in your diet that have a lower glycemic index (legumes, nuts, unprocessed high-fiber grains, and vegetables) enhance satiety, blood sugar, and overall body composition. These are the types of carbohydrates foods that should be the mainstay of a fitness lifestyle that follows good nutrition habits.
There is a time and place for carbohydrates foods in your diet that are of the high glycemic nature (sugar, candy, breakfast cereal, bagels, etc.). The time and place for these fast digesting carbohydrates foods are mostly for during workouts and your post workout periods. Please keep in mind that the carbohydrates foods in your diet that are the most important are the ones that are digested and absorbed slowly. These are the carbohydrates foods in your diet that help control blood sugar, insulin concentrations, overall energy levels, and body composition.
Processed and Unprocessed Carbohydrates Foods in Your Diet
The carbohydrates foods in your diet should not be of the refined type (white pasta, store bought breads, white rice. etc.) but rather they should be from the unrefined/unprocessed types. These include: fibrous carbohydrates such as leafy greens or broccoli, orange and red veggies, oats, oatmeal or oat bran, tubers and brown rice or an ancient grain such as quinoa. Other items such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, celery, cucumber, parsley and such should also be incorporated into the main meals.
And as stated above, it is only recommended that the highly active person take rapidly digestible carbohydrates foods during and after intense bouts of exercise. This is only recommended because of the intense exercise bouts that leaves the body’s stores of carbohydrates low and which needs rapid replenishment.
Dietary Fiber from Unprocessed Carbohydrates Foods
An important health benefits from eating unprocessed, slow digesting carbohydrate foods are that they are a great source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is split into two categories: 1) Soluble Fiber: that is found in oats, oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts, and in fruits such as oranges, apples, and carrots. and 2) Insoluble Fiber: that is found in green beans, and other dark leafy vegetables, fruit skins and root vegetables skins, various seeds, and nuts.
Both types of fiber are important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Soluble Fiber can decrease serum cholesterol levels. Insoluble Fibers will increase bulk to your stool and increase the colon transit time. Both soluble and insoluble benefits add up to: 1) an increase in satiety, 2) lower cholesterol, 3) a reduction in the risk of getting colon cancer, 4) an overall increase in gut health.
The Final Word on Carbohydrates Foods in Your Diet
The important take-away is that carbohydrates foods are an important part of a fitness lifestyle. Your body craves the slow digestible, unprocessed, high fiber carbohydrates foods. These types of macronutrients tend to also be the highest packed with the micronutrients your body needs. The only exception to this rule is during and after intense bouts of exercise. The amount of overall intake of carbohydrates foods is dependent on your size, exercise activity level, and other macronutrient intake.