We talked about macronutrients – that big word that refers to the fat, protein, and carbohydrates that are required in large amounts in the human diet. You knew that protein was important, but were you surprised to find out that fat was also important?
So let’s talk about the last part of the macronutrient balancing act – carbohydrates. Do you consider carbohydrates to be good or bad? In many ways, I believe they are quite misunderstood.
Most people think of breads and pastas when they hear the word ‘carbohydrates,’ but fruit and vegetables are also counted in this category. Sadly, the Standard American Diet is heavily loaded with processed flour-based carbohydrates that generally cause a quick spike in blood sugar, to which the body responds with insulin, which prompts the excess sugar to be stored as fat.
That in itself is not a beneficial result, but when you eat foods that cause such a spike repeatedly throughout the day for days, weeks, and months, you are likely to cause insulin resistance to develop. This means that your cells don’t respond properly to insulin and glucose is not able to get inside. Your cells then lack their energy source, and the glucose continues to circulate in your blood, causing a cascade of additional problems.
What would be better sources of carbohydrates with which you could balance your plate?
The preferred choice is vegetables and fruits, which provide energy, nutrients and fiber. And where our normal practice has been to plop a small portion of vegetables or applesauce on our plate, the proper balance would involve the vegetables and/or fruit to fill half your plate.
If you have examined the plate in my picture above, I’m sure you noticed that there is another section of the plate labeled “grains.” How are these different from the processed foods that can be damaging? The key is fiber. What I recommend you put on 1/4 of your balanced plate is whole grain.
Whole grains can include brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, and several others. These provide energy and some nutrients, but the key difference is the fiber which slows their digestion and the related blood spike.
Remember my post a month ago? I talked then about eating protein before the carbohydrates on your plate, which will further slow digestion and provide additional protection against blood sugar spikes.
You can greatly increase the variety in your meals by passing up the bland processed foods and incorporating more colorful vegetables. Nutrients, fiber and energy are available, along with a more enjoyable meal. That could support weight loss as you pursue wellness for you, for life – because health is wealth.