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Carbohydrates Advice

What are Carbohydrates Advice

What Are Carbohydrates?

High-carb, low-carb, smart carb, no carb. All the marketing blitz around this dietary trend isn't doing much to help people understand what carbohydrate really is.

I'm Dr. Caroline Cederquist, giving you the Skinny on Your Health.

Along with fats and protein, carbohydrate is one of the three essential MACROnutrients. You can't live without any of them, and most foods are composed of more than one macronutrient. Even a potato has 2.5 grams of protein.

The average American eats way too much SIMPLE carbohydrate - the sugars and processed starches in snack foods, most bakery goods and sodas - and NOT ENOUGH of the high-nutrient COMPLEX carbs we find in vegetables, dairy and whole grains, which provide most of our essential vitamins and minerals.

This doesn't have to be complicated - or expensive. Nevermind all the high-priced, heavily marketed "carb aware" foods.

To make it simple, just cut your simple carbs. Skip the soda, pass on the pastry and cut the candy. Then you'll have plenty of room for your vegetables, both in your tummy and your carb count!

Low-Carb Diet and Insulin Reduction

In my practice, I often see patients who suffer every day from erratic fluctuations in their insulin. And I do mean suffer.

I'm Dr. Caroline Cederquist, giving you The Skinny on Your Health.

You don't have to be diabetic to be really miserable because of your insulin. Many people don't even know that their jumbled up insulin levels are to blame for their ravenous hunger, mood swings or exhaustion.

A recent study comparing low-fat and low-carb diets found they were equally effective in terms of weight loss, but the low-carb diet also had the effect of significantly reducing insulin concentrations.

This is why when we get folks like this, we start them on an insulin-stabilizing diet, and yes, it's low in carbs. We reduce the overall level of circulating insulin, and teach people how to control the fluctuations through their dietary choices.

Low-carb diets aren't necessarily better than low-fat, but they're often a good place to start, because when those episodes of ravenous hunger are gone and you're not physically suffering, it's easier to stick with any diet.

Carbo Craze - Trendy Thinking

When "low fat/no fat" was the big dieting rage, Americans learned that we can still get fat eating fat-free foods. How soon we forget.

I'm Dr. Caroline Cederquist, giving you The Skinny on Your Health.

By focusing on just one nutritional element, we forgot the big picture … and as a result, the picture got bigger!

The same thing is happening with today's low carb/no carb craze.

As consumers fix their sights on carbs, they lose track of the numbers in overall calories, and often over-indulge in low-carb goodies: bacon, steaks, cheese, or any of the new, commercially produced carb-conscious foods.

But no matter what you eat, over-eating will lead to overweight.

It's just that simple. We have to take things in their proper proportions, and for most Americans, that means taking almost everything in SMALLER portions overall.

Carbo Craze - Meaningless Marketing

Nutritional tunnel vision may make for some good marketing, but it's rarely a route to good health.

I'm Dr. Caroline Cederquist, giving you The Skinny on Your Health.

By fixing our attention on one nutritional component - and these days, it's carbohydrate - food marketers can build terrific promotions, hawk new products or effectively repackage old products, just by focusing on that buzz word.

But what's behind the buzz? The FDA hasn't formally defined "low-carb" as it has with "low-fat" and "low-calorie," and until it does, the food industry isn't supposed to use that specific term in labeling.

Many use it anyway, along with other words that work as well. "Carb aware" and "carb smart" imply a better products than others with less "carb sense," but is there really much difference from the "regular" product, other than that premium price?

Research shows that while the price may double or triple, the carb content may decrease by as little at 10 percent.

Consumers have to remember to shop carefully and compare products hyping the new carb consciousness, so they don't end up paying the higher cost for questionably lower carbs.

Low Carbohydrate, High-Calorie

If you're trying to lose weight on a low-carb diet, you need to be especially on your guard if you go out to eat.

I'm Dr. Caroline Cederquist, giving you The Skinny on Your Health.

It's not that you won't have plenty of choices to pick from. There's scarcely a restaurant chain left that hasn't come up with a special menu for the carb-conscious crowd.

These menu selections are promoted as healthy dining choices, but studies show there's a lot more to them than meets the eye, including some things you may not want to meet your stomach.

The dishes are often so high in overall calories that a single meal can be close to an entire day's allowance for someone on a weight-loss diet. One chain's supposedly healthy "lifestyle choice" menu offers a spicy steak dish with 840 calories!

So many low-carb meals are shockingly high in fats, and if you're trying to watch your sodium intake, watch out!

Low carb menu items may offer great marketing opportunities for restaurants, but that doesn't make them good dining choices for dieters.

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