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Low Carb Foods

Date Added: December 06, 2010 03:15:40 PM
Low carb diets are receiving more attention than ever, as the obesity rates around the world continue to climb. Contrary to popular misconception, low carb diets are not a fad and are not dangerous in any way. Low carb diets are based on a simple concept – foods low in carbohydrates help you lose weight by minimizing the work your body's metabolism is burdened with. It is important to understand that the term 'carb' is used to describe various types of carbohydrates. Sugars are often referred to as 'simple carbs' or 'bad' carbs, while food items like starch and cellulose are referred to as 'complex carbs' or 'good' carbs. Low carb diets only require restricting your intake of sugars or 'bad' carbs, and do not require you to eliminate complex carbohydrates from your diet.

The Process of Braking Down Carbs

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement used to describe the speed in which ingested sugars (bad carbs) are metabolized by the body. In more detailed terms – the glycemic index indicates how fast these sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, thereby raising insulin levels (the body's healthy response to high blood sugar). After the sugar is metabolized into the blood stream, the excess sugar either has to be burnt as energy, or it is stored as fat. Low carb diets therefore reduce the amount of fat stored by the body by limiting the amount of carbs that are likely to be turned into fat.

Good Card, Bad Carb

It is important to note that our body needs certain carbohydrates for energy and optimal bodily functions. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, oats, grains, bran, and are digested very slowly by the body giving it time to efficiently metabolize the carbs. Since the sugars contained in complex carbohydrates take longer to be absorbed into the blood, it is easier for our body's insulin response to deal with the rise in blood sugar and prevent excess fat from accumulating. Thus, carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index are 'good' carbs, and carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index are bad carbs.

The Best Low Carb Foods

Fruits and vegetables are the staple of a good low carb diet, not only because they contain complex carbohydrates, but also because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help boost the body's metabolism and optimize every bodily function. Fruits and vegetables are also extremely high in fiber, which promotes and facilitates good digestion of everything you eat. Whole grains, bran, and oats are also incredibly nutritious and high in 'good' carbs that give you the energy needed to perform well during exercise. It is important to choose unrefined low carb foods over refined foods, as many of the complex carbohydrates are lost during the refining process.

Most people don't realize that pasta, rice and bread can be included in a low carb diet, however they cannot be refined or bleached in any way, and the bread must contain whole wheat or real grains. Brown rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates because the germ and the bran of the rice grain is not removed during the refining process. White rice lacks these two essential components and is therefore classified as containing 'bad' carbs. Whole wheat pasta with minimal processing is also an excellent alternative for people looking for low carbohydrate foods.