Wildly popular is the low carb diet and for good reason. Simple carbohydrates, nutrients that are
composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, are high on the glycemic index and having been getting a lot of attention lately as the cause of most of our health issues. Simple carbs are fruits and fruit juices, table sugar, corn syrups, and all foods that are refined and processed. Simple carbs are addicting and result in constant feelings of hunger and cravings that never seem to go away. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have fiber in them such as greens, squash, broccoli and are low on the glycemic index and have considerably less impact on our blood sugar. Many diets recommend 60 per cent of your diet be composed of carbs. The proponents of these diets are living in the past where sugar was glorified and fat demonized. These recommendations have led to the demise of our health and well-being. It is carbohydrates that have led to our obesity epidemic, crisis in health due to nutrient deficiencies, fatty liver disease and diabetes. In fact, when people rely on carbs to get their nutrition their deficient bodies will pull nutrients from their bones to get what they need. It may be surprising to you, that our bodies are composed of only 2 per cent carbohydrates and inside the human body there is only one teaspoon of glucose. These facts alone should make one realize that overloading the body with carbs just doesn’t make sense. Another fact is that if you didn’t eat any carbs your body could make sugar on its own, converting some of the protein and fats you consume, to glucose.
One way to check how your body reacts to carbs is to use a glucometer. This is the same device
diabetics use to test their blood sugar. You can do your own experiment by testing blood sugar before and after eating a carbohydrate to see how your body responds and what you can tolerate. If blood sugar takes a big spike you’re body may not be tolerating sugars well and these foods should be avoided to prevent becoming diabetic.
Some points to consider regarding eating carbohydrates:
* Healthy carbs like leafy green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, and berries can provide a
quick fuel source, are full of fiber, help lubricate our joints and feed our good gut bacteria.
* Try to eat as many colours of vegetables when in season and eat local and organic when
* If you can tolerate some carbs eat whole fruits versus juices. If you are diabetic think of fruit as natures candy and avoid it. Like vegetables eat fruit low in sugar , in season and organic.
Strawberries are excellent for you but buy organic as most are full of pesticides.
* If you add a healthy fat to your fruit it will blunt the effect of the sugar. Strawberries and
whipped cream anyone!
* All sugars even “healthy sugars” are sugar to our bodies. It can’t tell the difference between
white sugar and honey. They are equally high on the glycemic index. They may have other
nutrient benefits but if you have carbohydrate intolerance you need to avoid them all, even my
favourite, maple syrup.
* Incorporate fermented foods into your diet to replenish your intestines with good healthy
bacteria and help you absorb minerals properly. Only buy fermented foods that are found in the
refrigerated section of your grocery store and introduce them slowly to avoid gas and bloating.
In conclusion, we now know that healthy fats are good for us and we need to limit our carbs particularly those refined sugary types. I recommend a gradual approach to eliminating carbs to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms that often mimic the flu. Sugar is like a drug and it is one that does a lot of damage to our body and our brains so we all need to make this change.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.