You need to take good care of your diet when you have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
You need to take even better care of yourself if you want to avoid developing these chronic conditions.
We all know, this is easier said than done.
You can have all the best intentions and the strongest determination, still you can be easily confused by all the nutritional mumbo-jumbo out there.
However, eating right is the condition above all other conditions for a successful fight against diabetes and heart disease.
So, quitting is not an option.
You have to be positive and use the amazing availability of information that we have today to educate yourself and understand the connection between your illness and any of the foods you eat.
We don’t want you to make mistakes.
Especially not the common ones.
That is why, in this article, we want to talk to you about carbs and the role they play in your diet.
You see, many people think that carbs are just bad.
They are blamed for weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc…
People often think that carbs are nothing but plain sugar.
There are many new and popular dietary regimens based on the complete removal of carbs from the menu.
Like it often happens in nature and life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Carbs are neither good nor bad.
They can be both.
But, what they are to you depends on how you use them.
It depends on which type of carbs you are eating, their quality, and quantity.
It is possible to enjoy a carb-rich diet and remain slim and healthy.
All you need to do is make the right choices.
Carbs can help you to lose weight, keep your blood sugar under control, and lower the risk of heart disease.
If you want to know how carbs can help you with all of this, continue reading this article.
What Are Carbs?
Carbs belong to a group of three important nutrients that form the largest part of your diet.
These are called macronutrients and they include:
- Carbohydrates (carbs)
It is hard, but not impossible, to completely exclude carbs from your diet.
Most foods contain at least a small amount of carbs.
However, not all carbs are the same.
The lack of information about this is the main reason for all the confusion carbs cause when it comes to their role in the human diet.
There are three main types of carbs.
Out of the three types of carbs, you should only avoid the first one, the free sugars.
Starch, and especially fiber, are extremely health-beneficial types of carbs when eaten in moderation.
Now, let’s explain each of these types in a few sentences:
There are many types of sugars.
Some are added to foods during preparation or processing, others are found naturally within (e.g. honey, fruits, maple syrup, etc…).
All of these are free sugars which cause sharp and sudden changes in blood sugar levels when consumed.
These free sugars do not provide you with a long-lasting sense of fullness and they are mainly responsible for the bad reputation of carbs.
Starches are a complex form of carbs.
They are naturally found in many foods but can also be added during processing.
Like all processed foods, processed starch is not the best option for anyone.
Naturally occurring starch, in potatoes, wholegrain bread, rice, etc… is an excellent and long-lasting energy source.
Fiber is associated with most health benefits.
It improves digestion, prevents constipation, and helps weight loss.
Scientific studies show that a diet rich in fiber is associated with:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Reduced risk of bowel cancer
Foods Rich in Fiber Include:
- Some fruits
- Green vegetables
- Wholegrain bread and pasta
If you want to understand how different carbs affect your body, the good way to start is by understanding their glycemic index.
The Glycemic Index (GI)
All carb-containing foods have a glycemic index or GI.
GI shows how a certain food affects the changes in your blood sugar (glucose) levels.
The lower the GI, the lesser is the chance of an uncontrolled blood sugar spike.
For example, plain sugar found in cakes, chocolate bars, sodas, etc… has a very high GI, while beans have a low GI.
Both are carbs, but the ways they affect your health are very different.
If you are a diabetic, GI can be an important piece of information for you—if you know how to use it.
You need to know that the GI changes when you eat different combinations of foods.
It also changes with the way you prepare certain foods.
On their own and prepared in a healthy way, low GI foods such as lentils, beans, green leafy vegetables, and wholegrain bread are a very good choice for a healthy and balanced diet.
What Should Your Carb-Rich Diet Look Like
Moderation is the most important rule when it comes to eating any type of food.
Too much protein is bad for the kidneys, too much fat is bad for your heart, and too many carbs equals weight gain.
These are only some examples.
This means that including some types of carbs, moderately, in your diet can help you to stay healthy and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
It doesn’t mean that carbs are the cure and that you should eat as much as you want to stay healthy.
Many people make this mistake.
The best way to eat is to include all the nutrients in the diet and to watch the calories.
Too many calories will lead to weight gain even if you only eat celery sticks.
Obesity is one of the main risk factors of both diabetes and heart disease.
So, you need to keep your weight in check.
Last But Not Least
Stay active and try to eat several smaller meals every day.
Don’t eat late at night.
Be careful how you prepare your food.
Use less oil and when you can’t avoid them and use healthier alternatives such as olive oil.
Only by adhering to these rules you will be able to experience the full benefits of a well-balanced, carb-rich diet.
How Can a Carb-Rich Diet Help You to Fight Diabetes and Heart Disease
A diet rich in complex carbs contributes to your health in several ways.
Fiber improves digestion and promotes a healthy weight.
More importantly, a fiber-rich diet is known to reduce overall cholesterol.
Scientists believe that cholesterol particles bind to fiber and get excreted from the digestive system before they can enter your bloodstream.
Less cholesterol equals a lower risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease.
Complex carbs found in whole grains and oats reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (which affects 95% of diabetics).
Scientists have discovered that resistant starch found in many carb-rich foods can reduce the appetite, increase insulin sensitivity, and improve the control of blood glucose levels in healthy and pre-diabetic individuals.
Resistant starch also improves the state of your gut flora (the good bacteria).
Because of this, it is the subject of other promising scientific studies, especially in the field of colon cancer treatment.
The Final Word
Not all carbs are bad for you.
In fact, carbs are an important part of every healthy and well-balanced diet.
Complex carbs, such as starch and fiber, are a great source of energy.
Foods rich in these carbs contain important vitamins and minerals.
You don’t have to give these up.
Just learn to use them properly and you will enjoy all the benefits.
It is scientifically proven that complex carbs will make you feel full for longer, help you to maintain a healthy weight, and lower the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
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