Good Carbs versus Bad Carbs
The Overweight Epidemic
One of the problems in today's society is we have a tendency to want to candy coat things and paint a prettier picture for something that is simply ugly. Instead of resolving issues, we apply band aids and just put a label on it. Everything is about money. The health and fitness world is no different. Obesity is now considered a disease. Of course when there's a label on something, it brings a lot of profit potential with it. Many companies have reaped massive profits on this obesity epidemic. Seems as if more "quick fixes" are popping up on a daily basis. I'm not implying that products such as Skinny body, Body by Vi, or the wraps that take off inches are not effective, however their marketing scheme of "one size fits all" and it works for everyone is very misleading and gives many people false hope. There is no such thing as one size fits all, if that was the case, no one would be overweight. There are some good, effective products that will assist you in losing and managing your weight loss efforts, but just remember, it's a process that will take some time. It's not going to happen in 60 or 90 days as some of these products suggest. Especially if your obese. The best product that you can buy, is belief in yourself. Once you put your mind to what you want to do, and believe in it 100% and not just posting empty fitness slogans on Facebook, nothing will stop you from reaching your goal. Some people are under the impression that if they go to the gym frequently, they can still continue with their bad eating habits. For some individuals this might be true, of course they will more than likely have to deal with other health concerns like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc, but that's a whole other story altogether. Your daily diet is 80% of being healthy, regardless of how often you attend the gym. For those of you that have trouble controlling your weight, even more so.
Manipulating your carbohydrate intake is going to play a major factor in losing weight. If you already have weight problems, consuming simple carbohydrates isn't going to help. Simple carbs are easily broken down by the body and quickly converted into fat and drastically raise blood glucose levels if not used immediately. Some carbohydrates high on the glycemic index (90 or above) can increase blood sugar as if you you were eating pure glucose (sugar). Definitely not a good thing if you suffer from Diabetes or Hypoglycemia. Complex carbohydrates, that are low on the glycemic index contain more fibers that make them harder for our bodies to break down,they will stay in the body longer, providing you with more sustainable energy and aid in controlling blood sugar levels. This is a list of some of the better carbohydrates that you should have on your grocery list to assist in your weight loss quest and for overall health.
Cooked Brown Rice
Not only will a diet filled with whole grains like brown rice aid in maintaining a healthy body weight, but there are many other health benefits to consuming it on a regular basis and rice is extremely versatile and will pretty much go with anything. Brown rice comes with an abundance of magnesium (which is essential for bone health), phytonutrients (plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties that act as antioxidants), the oils in brown rice have consistently shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol), and the plethora of manganese and selenium are majors factors in combating the free radicals in the body.Selenium also plays a part in managing the thyroid hormone metabolism and immune system function. Containing approximately 15% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, brown rice augments the digestive system, keeping every thing flowing briskly, protects against colon and breast cancer and improves cardiovascular health. Research has also shown that brown rice decreases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a variety of factors that associated with the increased risk of heart disease and type II diabetes. Who said eating healthy had to taste bad? Whole grains should be a part of everyone's diet, when choosing a whole grain or rice, go with the brown over white, your body will thank you for it.
Cabbage actually happens to be one of my favorite carbs to eat. There are over 400 different varieties of cabbage throughout the world, so I'm sure you can find a color, shape, or size to suit your specific taste. Like brown rice, cabbage also has approximately 15% of the daily recommended amount of fiber and is very versatile as well. It can be eaten cooked, raw, or served/added as a soup or stew. Cabbage has anti-inflammatory properties, the ample quantity of the amino acid glutamine assists with inflammation and the lactic acid in it alleviates muscle soreness. With high volumes of vitamin C that improves the immune system and fight the free radicals that can damage the body and skin. Cabbage has also displayed cancer fighting properties, the vitamin K and anthocyanin aid in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, beta-carotene helps prevent cataracts and it's a natural remedy for stomach ulcers. When your on that mission to shed unwanted pounds, cabbage only has about 35 calories a serving, so you could eat cabbage pretty much all day without gaining weight.
Low Glycemic Carbs
A Batch of Cauliflower
I was never a big vegetable eater growing up, so a lot of the things I eat now took some time to build an acquired taste for them. Cauliflower would definitely be one of those things. The most advantageous way to get all the nutritional and health benefits of the cauliflower is to simply eat them raw. If you can't take the crunch or taste without making faces while your chewing it, there are other options on how to prepare them. Cauliflower is filled with proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins (folic acid, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and pyridoxine), vitamin K and the antioxidants vitamin C and manganese. The fiber contained in cauliflower provides digestive system support, the anti-inflammatory properties lessens the risk of diseases such as obesity, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and the antioxidants not only protect you from cardiovascular disease, but they also assist the liver in rendering cancer causing toxic substances ineffective, detoxing the body. The floret is normally the most common part of cauliflower that is consumed, however the leaves and stems are edible as well. So there really isn't an excuse for you not to reap the benefits of the cauliflower.
Asparagus are another one of those things that you have to acquire a taste for, at least I had too. You can dress them up a little by cutting them up in salads, lightly steaming them or even barbeque them with mustard. One of the foremost advantages of eating asparagus on a regular basis is the effects it's abundance of B vitamins have on the cardiovascular system, controlling the blood glucose levels by way of metabolizing sugars and starches and mitigating the factors that can cause heart disease. Like many of the other carbohydrates on this list, asparagus contains a wealth of antioxidants (Vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, selenium and zinc) which combat the free radicals that accelerate the aging process. the anti-inflammatory's battle afflictions such as arthritis, asthma and autoimmune diseases. A natural diuretic, studies have shown asparagus effectively handles swelling, arthritis and water retention. Asparagus is also associated with the decreasing of blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, regulating the digestive system, controls blood sugar levels, impedes constipation and did I mention it only has 45 calories per serving?
Glycemic Index Chart
Although beans (also commonly referred to as legumes) are not a complete protein, as the do not contain all of the essential amino acids we need, they do provide up to approximately four times the amount of protein compared to that of whole grains. By now you should have begun to see a pattern in this list of good carbohydrates. They help maintain/lose weight due to the high content of fiber that keeps the digestive system running at an optimum level along with many other health benefits. Pinto Beans have about 6 grams of fiber per serving, they also aid in glucose control, manages functionality of the colon, lowers cholesterol, antioxidant protection, and lessens the rick factors of many different types of cancers, heart disease, and prostate health. They only con of eating a lot of beans is that they are not completely digested, due to the fact that they contain fibers that the body cannot absorb or digest, so they are broken down by bacteria in the intestines creating gas (flatulence). Properly cooking the beans can drastically diminish the amount of oligosaccharides (fiber that can't be digested or absorbed) so that you don't offend anyone with gas.
Bowl of Spinach
Strong to the finish, because you eat your Spinach
If I had known what Pop-eye knew a long time ago, spinach would have been a major component in my eating habits 30 years ago. Not only did it make Pop-eye stronger to beat down Bluto, just one serving of spinach has approximately 20% of the daily recommended allowance of fiber, which contributes to controlling your appetite, managing blood sugar, and preventing constipation. Spinach has a ridiculous amount of vitamin K (over 1000% of RDA) which is imperative in maintaining bone strength and density, impedes the formation of calcium in tissue (calcification), and augments brain function and a healthy nervous system. The excessive amount of vitamin A (340% of RDA) is a major factor in white blood cells that fight infection, improves the skin, the antioxidants defend the eyes from cataracts and enzymes that help lower blood pressure. Spinach is actually one good carb that doesn't have to be dressed up to taste great.
The sweet potato is by far my favorite good carb to eat. I don't add nothing to eat, bake it and eat it plain and it tastes great. Packed with the antioxidant vitamin C, which not only aids in fighting colds and flu viruses, vitamin C also has a starring role in blood cell formation, tooth and bone formation, accelerated wound healing and digestion. If your not a fun in the sun type of person such as myself and don't get a lot of sun, you may want to eat the sweet potato to acquire the necessary vitamin D which is essential for energy levels, heart, nerves, skin, moods, immune system and overall health in general. The magnesium in the potato is a necessity for healthy arteries, heart and nerve function. The iron ensures red and white blood cell production, metabolizing of proteins and sufficient immune function. Normally eating healthy may be a little more expensive, but when it comes to the sweet potato, it can be found pretty much anywhere and is very easy on your wallet.
Bowl of Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
Oatmeal (not instant)
Okay, now back to the carbs that have a bland taste and you may find yourself trying to dress them up for better taste. One serving of plain oats comes with about 5 grams of soluble fiber (the kind that hinders the absorption of bad cholesterol) and 10 grains of protein. The fiber in oatmeal gives you that full feeling for an extended period of time, making the stomach take longer to empty, thus averting weight gain. When your eating habits have a high fiber content, this maintains blood sugar levels and gives you energy for a longer period of time, avoiding energy slumps that can come from eating sugars and simple carbohydrates. The antioxidants in oatmeal assist in fighting cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries, strengthens the immune system, minimize the risk of high blood pressure and can also hamper the development of diabetes. For those of you that do not like to eat gluten, oatmeal has a minimal amount of gluten.
Good Carbs versus Bad Carbs
Plate of Red Apples
An Apple a Day
We have all heard the old saying before, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", well there is a lot truth behind that cliche'. Besides helping you lose/maintain your weight, apples actually do have many other major health benefits. Research has shown that the pectin in apples aids in the lowering of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lessens the bodies need for insulin, which is great for those trying to manage their diabetes.The flavanoids help with bone density and the quercetin contained in apples protects the brain from free radicals that can cause Azlheimers disease. Quercetin has also been linked to the prevention of lung cancer, diminishing the risk of breast, colon and liver cancers. So for those of you that use the "long work days" or busy days as an excuse to continue with your bad eating habits, you can carry a couple of apples with you anywhere you need to go. Problem solved.
Pouring a glass of Skim Milk
A Glass of Skim Milk
Encase you didn't already know, the difference between whole milk and skim milk is that the fat content has been removed in skim milk. A lot of vitamins are lost during this process so many milk manufacturers simply add the vitamins back artificially after the process. So the final product is very similar to that of whole milk, just with less fat and calories. Skim milk comes with casein protein, which can take up to 7 hours for the body to break it down and digest it (depending on the person). This is extremely beneficial to the fitness fanatic/weight loss enthusiast in controlling their weight and muscle development and preservation. Skim milk normally contains higher concentrations of protein, calcium and potassium than other kinds of milk. If your accustomed to the taste of 2% or whole milk, switching to skim milk might take some getting use too. A glass right before bed can go a long way in helping with your weight loss goals.
As I've always said, losing weight is a process which is not going to happen overnight. The time frame would be dependent on many factors, including how much weight you need to lose. Adding these items to your grocery list will definitely allow you to hit the ground running in your weight loss quest and make it that much easier. With the addition of a consistent work out routine, you will begin to notice the pounds will just start falling off.
Other informative links on Health and Fitness
- 10 Healthy Super Foods that Naturally Burn Fat
Losing excessive weight isn't an easy process for most people, but you can help yourself by adding these healthy foods to your shopping list to make the journey a little bit easier.
- 10 Healthy Foods that Naturally Detoxify the body
Whether you have healthy eating habits or bad ones, the body will get built up toxins that can cause headaches, asthma, fibromyalgia or even worse, diabetes and cancers.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on May 30, 2014:
Thank you all for the read, I try to be helpful and keep everyone fit and healthy.
Melesa Francis-Turner on May 20, 2014:
Great article Alphadogg. I like em all except spinach; guess I still can't get over some of my childhood peeves. All those foods consist of complex carbohydrates that many of us lack in our diets. It is more pleasing to grab a bowl of ice-cream than a stick of carrot. That's why we often fall back into unhealthy eating habits. Keep up the good work.
Dianna Mendez on May 18, 2014:
I am learning so much through your posts here on HP. On this one, I discover the need to increase brown rice in my diet. Thanks for the help and advice.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 12, 2014:
Great advice on the eating plan and so wroth trying.
R. Fritz from Houston, TX. on May 09, 2014:
Great article on weight loss! Shared on Facebook Group Limu Promoters. https://www.facebook.com/groups/limupromoters/
andrekennedyjr from Washington D.C. on May 08, 2014:
Didn't know cauliflower had so many health benefits, I love that stuff!!!
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on May 08, 2014:
Excellent article and spot on with the health benefits of these foods. I eat them all, with the exception of milk, and they do all the things your article says. The pounds do come off with eating these foods. And the pounds come off slowly which is the best way to lose weight. Great article!
Zimkhitha from South Africa on May 08, 2014:
I watched a Dr.Oz episode whereby he was talking about cutting out the bad carbs from your diet. He said that as long as you eat the correct carbs, you can't be addicted to them. Oats and brown rice came up tops!
Michelle Liew from Singapore on May 08, 2014:
I always knew that it was it the carbs! Yes. Thanks for pointing us to the right ones!
Eric Zylstra on May 07, 2014:
I will be running a 25k this weekend. Defiantly plan to include some of these into my meal the night before!
Randal Bruce from Charlottesville, VA on May 07, 2014:
Great stuff. I definitely will adding some of these items to my grocery list. It's time to shed some lbs.
dragonflycolor on May 07, 2014:
I am an offender of the bad carbs, but I am trying to eat more good carbs when we go out to eat or cook at home. I am overweight, trying to eat better, drinking more water, and have taken up a community baseball league sport for exercise. It's going well for the time being. Thanks for the info!
carlajbehr on May 07, 2014:
Great article and very helpful! I really like some of the foods discussed and will plan to try to incorporate them more into my diet.
Erin Nichols from Montana on May 07, 2014:
I love this article! A lot of people hear carbs are bad and assume all carbs are bad. It's wonderful that you put together a list of healthy carbs.
David from Birmingham, UK on May 07, 2014:
Some great advice here; and some excellent carb choices. My favorite is oatmeal :)
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:
Just discovered that I'm a few pounds into obesity. Don't want that. I have to become intentional about following your advice. Thanks for your very helpful articles.
Kiss andTales on May 06, 2014:
Great hub !