Q: What are carbs?
A: Carbs (carbohydrates) are organic compounds that exist in foods as a sugar, a starch, or a cellulose (a woody fiber). There are two kinds of carbohydrates: Simple (refined) carbohydrates are “fast” sugars. They break down into sugar fast in your system, and cause a rush of insulin to come to help process the sugar, which then leaves your system unbalanced, with too much insulin. Simple carbs like cake have been stripped of fiber and nutrients, then processed into starchy, sugary foods like white breads, donuts, cookies, white rice, pasta, and such. They sure help you gain weight! They can also lead to a dangerous condition called metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes and other serious health problems.
Complex (unrefined) carbohydrates are “slow” sugars. They break down into sugar slower in your system, and cause a slow release of insulin, keeping a proper sugar-insulin balance. It’s harder for your body to burn foods like brown rice and whole grains. These unrefined carbs also make your body burn some fat for energy. These carbs give you slow, steady source of energy.
Simple and complex carbohydrates are rated with something called the Glycemic Index or GI. To find out more about the Glycemic Index, click here.
Q: What does a low-carb diet do?
A: A low carb diet (perhaps better named a low simple-carb diet) strictly limits your carbohydrate intake, and forces your body to burn mostly fat. It can do this because limiting carbs limits sugar. There is less sugar to burn, so your body turns to all that extra stored fat to burn for energy! That’s why you lose weight on a low-carb diet.
Be sure to ask a doctor or health care professional if low-carb eating is a good choice for you. Here are nutritional supplements from Botanic Choice that can benefit your health during low carb dieting:
- Vitamin C is recommended in addition to a strong multivitamin, because C has proven antioxidant protection. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so it needs to be replaced frequently.
- GTF Chromium has been shown to be part of the body’s “glucose (sugar) tolerance factor” and this essential mineral can help promote fat loss while increasing lean muscle tissue.
- Coral Calcium Advantage is good for the important calcium-potassium balance in every cell.
- Super Fish Oil gives you essential fatty acids known for keeping cardiovascular and circulatory systems in the best health.
- Round out your low carb dieting program with a good fiber supplement and try to fit in at least 20 minutes of brisk exercise each day.