Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carbphobia

It seems as a nation of unfit, unhealthy people we seem to departmentalize food into nutrients and then find things wrong with these nutrients and delete them out of our diet. One of the "bad" nutrients is Carbohydrates.  I get numerous questions about Carbohydrates.  Fear in the form of fat transferring to hips spills out of my clients because they have been misinformed about what a carbohydrate really is.  What is a carbohydrate and why do we need them?
A carbohydrate is a combination of a starch and a sugar (monosaccahride or disaccharide) package in the perfect form with fiber and phytonutrients.  Carbohydrates include vegetables (leafy greens are best), fruits, whole grains, and legumes. All body functions, cellular processes, thinking, breathing, muscular exertion (running, yoga, weightlifting) require carbohydrates and use them as their main source of fuel.  The brain is dependent on glucose from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are central to all cultures around the world and humans have been eating them for thousands of years!  Take for example whole grains.  Whole grains are different all over the world and depending on the region you live in will determine what you are familiar with.  Africa has sorghum, millet, and teff. Asia produces rice, Peru produces quinoa, and Russia produces buckwheat or kasha.  Corn comes from the Americas and oats from Scotland.  Italy is known for their risottos, pastas, and breads and Europe for its dark beer, millet, and wheat.  Civilizations have survived on carbohydrates for centuries and they were not fat.  If a carbohydrate makes you fat than all the citizens of Japan would be fat from their consumption of rice.  Our term "meal" even comes from carbohydrates such as cornmeal and oatmeal.

The next time you fear a carbohydrate fear the cookies, bread, sugar and processed boxes of cereal and other crap that come in bags and not the amazing nutritious forms of whole plant-based foods that are truly meant to help you body!



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