What is Low Carb & Why we should eat Low Carb foods.
by Clara See
LOW CARB FOODS ARE BASICALLY FOODS WITH MINIMAL AMOUNTS OF SUGAR - INCLUDING NATURAL SUGARS & ANYTHING THAT SPIKES THE BLOOD GLUCOSE.
WHAT ARE CARBS?
Carbs, an abbreviation for carbohydrates, is 1 of the 3 main macronutrients which the body obtain its energy source. It mainly comprises of sugar, starches & fibre and is commonly found in many foods such as rice, noodles, breads, fruits and vegetables. Sugar and starches are generally broken down into glucose as an instant energy source for the body. Fibre, both insoluable & soluable fibre, serves your digestive system by regulating bowel movement and promoting gut health.
DID U KNOW THAT LOW CARB = LOW SUGAR?
For most, it would be pretty easy to identify starchy & sugary foods like rice & breads as high carbohydrate meals. These foods usually contain over 70% carbs/sugars with some vitamins & minerals - It is just like a pure energy source with little additional benefits.
On the other hand, most fruits & vegetables can contain a significant amount of hidden carbs/sugars as well. But, they are deemed as a better source of carbohydrate (fruits & vegetables are carbs) as they contain a higher level of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients. So the Return on Investment (ROI) for the amount of carbs/sugars consumed is much higher than its starchy counterparts. (Think of reaping higher returns for same(or less) amount of work)
SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIGH CARB FOODS OR NATURAL SUGARS? ISN'T IT JUST A SOURCE OF ENERGY?
ALSO, ANYTHING NATURAL IS ALWAYS GOOD RIGHT?
In an ideal or active body condition, high energy sources or high carb foods are fine. That is provided if your body or lifestyle allows all these sugars to be used up and converted into energy or physical output. However, that is not the case for most of the people today. Majority of the population lead sedentary lifestyle with low to medium levels of physical activities. All these excess sugars or carbs will then be stored by the body as fat reserves as one is not able to utilise all these energy at once.
The same thing goes for artificial and natural sugars – The latter is slightly better as it contains less chemicals and usually comes along with a higher amount of fibre to control the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Apart from the well-known misdeeds of sugar and the harmful effects of diabetes, another important point about high sugar/carbs intake is that it triggers an insulin spike. Insulin is a hormone required by the body to convert sugars/carbs into energy or for storage. It also helps to balance the blood glucose levels preventing hyper(high) or hypo(low) glycemia. However, consistent insulin spikes can lead to weight-gain, inflammation & a multitude of other inter-related diseases.
Traditionally, most of our diets have always been carbohydrate-focused. This means that our pancreas or insulin have been hard at work or even possibly overworked since the longest time (likely cause of insulin resistance, diabetes and many other inflammation-related diseases)
What happens when someone/thing is overworked? Temporary breakdown, Reduced efficiency & or worse still, Long term shut down - (Pre) Diabetics
E.g. If you use your legs for an extended period of time, they will get sore or your joints will wear out. If you use a machine daily without giving it proper maintenance or care, it will soon break down as well.
SO WHAT SHOULD MY DIET BE LIKE IN A LOW CARB DIET? WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
For optimal nutrition or the highest ROI, one should preferably consume nutrient dense foods – foods with a nutritional breakdown of mainly quality protein and/or healthy fats. Proteins & healthy fats are considered nutrient dense as they are both essential nourishment or health building blocks which the body needs for various vital processes. The body is unable to produce these nutrients on its own and it is necessary to obtain them through different food sources.
Proteins (essential amino acids) & Fats (essentials fatty acids) are necessary for numerous purposes including cell growth & repair, metabolism regulation, immune function, vitamin absorption, hormone production, neurological activities and many other fundamental bodily processes.
BUT DON’T WE NEED ENERGY OR CARBOHYDRATES IN OUR DIETS?
Yes, of course we need energy for these processes to occur. In fact, none of these functions can take place in the absence of energy. In a low carb diet, energy sources will be obtained through the protein & healthy fats you will consume. The body will convert excess proteins & fats into pure sources of energy to fuel your body processes. Also, low carb does not mean no carb. There will still be carbohydrates and sugars present in your foods.
The preferred carbohydrates are those obtained through fresh fruits & vegetables – they are typically the green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and most berries. Many fruits and root vegetables actually contain quite a high amount of sugar which could raise the blood glucose and should be consumed in moderation during a low carb diet. Therefore, depending on the type/level of low carb diet one is practising, the kind of fruit and vegetable consumption will vary from each individual.
Fruits are nature’s version of candies with many beneficial vitamins and phytonutrients. However, its carb/sugar level should be taken into consideration during a low carb diet.
WHO SHOULD EAT LOW CARB FOODS?
ARE LOW CARB NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS ONLY SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE ON LOW CARB DIETS?
Low carb foods are simply foods with low amount of sugar. When sugar/carbs are taken out of the nutritional equation, the remaining macronutrients present will be protein & fats thus making it nutrient dense. Protein & fats are necessary nourishment for a healthy happy body. Definitely, the quality of protein and fats should be factored, and that’s why SuperPopStore advocate clean sources of nutritious ingredients.
Nutrient dense foods are not just for people on low carb diets, but it is for those who want to obtain the utmost amount of nutrition from their foods.
These are foods packed with high levels of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and other nutrients.
Here’s a thought:
Whether one is diabetic or not, eating low carb foods is like giving your pancreas/insulin a well-deserved holiday after having worked all their lives.