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Carb Counting: Why Does It Matter? — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 20, 2008 at 12:16 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Carb Counting: Why Does It Matter?

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Counting Carbohydrates helps to regulate your diet, maintain your health and helps you to lose weight.

What Is a Carbohydrate?

A carbohydrate is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The most basic carbs are simple sugars which include things like jam or jelly, honey, soda, and energy drinks. Another example of a carb or "simple sugar" is glucose (dextrose) which is a substance measured in blood. All carbs must be broken down and turned into glucose so that the body may absorb it and use it for fuel or energy. These are more of the basic carbs. However, when a number of these simple sugars are connected, they become more complicated. These are known as complex carbohydrates and these are what we know to be our starchy foods such as breads, beans, and pasta.

Why Count Carbohydrates?

It is important to count carbohydrates to control your diet, weight, and blood sugar. People that have weight issues need to be aware of their carb intake. It's important for them, especially if they are on medication to be conscience of what carbs they are consuming. However what we don't realize is how many foods actually contain carbohydrates. This makes it more difficult to keep track let alone find low carb foods that make it easy to change a diet or a certain lifestyle. There are a lot of resources out there that will help you, even break down your meals and snacks for the day so you don't really have to do much thinking.

What Happens When You Eat Carbohydrates?

When you consume carbs, they're broken down into sugar. The sugar is then broken down into the blood causing the sugar level to rise. As the sugar level rises, the pancreas releases a specific hormone called insulin. Insulin moves the sugar from your bloodstream to the cells, where we then use it as our "fuel" or energy. When this process is rapid, you will likely be hungry a lot sooner. However, when the process is at a slower pace, for instance, with a whole-grain type food, you will remain full and you will have energy for a longer period of time.

Pros of counting carbs or reducing carbs

  • Regulates your diet
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Reduces the amount of calorie intake

Cons of Counting or Reducing Carbs

  • Having to be aware of everything your eating
  • A sudden decrease in carbs may cause slight fatigue or agitation
  • Increases fat intake
  • May cut out foods with known benefits to health

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/low-carb-diet/NU00279

http://life.familyeducation.com/nutrition-and-diet/foods/48638.html

http://www.diabetes.org/about-diabetes.jsp

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