Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 2: Carbohydrates-The Master Fuel

Carbohydrates are a class of organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are most commonly grouped as simple and complex carbohydrates. Depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity, carbohydrates should range from 45-65% of the total calories that you consume daily. For example, a 2,000 calorie diet should be comprised of 900-1300 calories. They are the body's master fuel for all metabolic processes. Carbohydrates are the single most important source of energy in the body. They also provide dietary fiber for regularity and heart health.

Carbohydrates are often viewed as the enemy to maintaining a healthy weight. The trick is to consume more whole grains and dairy, beans, fruits, and vegetables and to avoid highly refined foods like white bread, white rice, sugary cereals, white pasta, crackers, and donuts.

In later posts, we will explore how to successfully integrate carbohydrates into your diet to maximize energy, maintain weight, and to promote overall health.

Terms to Know:

1)  simple carbohydrates- simple sugars that exist as either single sugar molecules or two single sugar molecules linked together; examples include sucrose, molasses, honey, maple syrup, and turbinado sugar.

2)  complex carbohydrates-  carbohydrates that are composed of two or more simple sugar molecules linked together; examples include whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, whole milk, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

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