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Friday Fun Facts About Carbohydrates

VERNON HILLS, IL – JANUARY 27: Betty Ravagni arranges some of the more than 1,500 low-carbohydrate products available January 27, 2004 at new Low Carb Chicago Inc., store in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Low Carb Chicago Inc., is the first store in the Chicago area dedicated exclusively to selling products for people following a low-carbohydrate lifestyle. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

December. Seems like the Thanksgiving holiday, an entire day of eating, is quickly followed by December, an entire month of eating. Fruitcake, sugarplums, cookies, candy, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire all add a few unneeded inches to our waistlines. Is it any wonder that weight loss is the number one New Year’s Resolution?

Who gets the blame for this gastric catastrophe? Carbohydrates — or as most people call them — those evil carbs. Those sugars and breads and rolls and dressing and pies, each tasting so good that seconds are not only encouraged they are required in many households lest you hurt Mom’s feelings.

Natural Carbs

Surprisingly, the best carbs are not Twinkies. Mother Nature makes the best carbs, not some processing facility in Nebraska. Natural carbs produce slow increases in blood glucose levels and are chock full of nutrients and fiber. Natural carbs like those found in yams, wild rice, beans, red potatoes and fruits should be your first choice for fuel, energy and growth.

Processed Carbs

The downside of processed carbs is that they are digested quickly. The more processing it gets the faster it’s digested. Whole grains are pulverized into flour that the body processes faster. These carbs hit the bloodstream very quickly and produces an insulin spike or that commonly called “sugar high” we all know and love.

All of the great diet-busting foods we love are processed and should be used in moderation. Foods like bagels, dinner rolls, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, muffins, cold cereals, rice cakes and fruit juices all require one or more levels of processing before hitting grocers shelves. The more processing the worse they are.

What to Eat

Here are some carbohydrate foods listed on the Low Glycemic Index. Although many still fall into the processed category they are still healthier than the high glycemic index foods.

  • Pumpernickel Bread
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Bran Cereal
  • Soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Baked Beans
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Milk / Yogurt
  • Chocolate

What Not to Eat

Here are some carbohydrate foods listed on the High Glycemic Index. Eat these foods in strict moderation.

  • White Bread
  • Short-grain white rice
  • Cornflakes
  • Waffles
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Watermelon
  • Soft Drinks
  • Jelly Beans
  • Honey

Some Final Thoughts

I always thought it was a cruel joke of nature that broccoli doesn’t taste like doughnuts. If it did I would sure eat a lot more broccoli. Why does all the good tasting stuff put all those big ugly bumps all over our bodies?

To all the runners, tofu munching, sprout spinning, organic fans out there, I will still eat my broccoli but not only will I continue to have Mom’s apple pie but I’ll drown that baby in whipped cream.

So on New Years Day I’ll be about nine pounds heavier but the good news is there’s a resolution with my name on it that I’ll start on Jan 2. And I will stick with it rain or shine no matter what all the way up to Super Bowl Sunday — the next pig out day. How will you battle the carbs this month?

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