Careful With Those Carbs Eugene

Careful With Those Carbs Eugene

Careful With Those Carbs Eugene--


Ahhh carbohydrates. Such a marginalized category of food. Carbs have been looked down upon recently due to the fact that they contribute to obesity, weight gain in the form of body fat, adult onset diabetes, insulin resistance etc..etc..the list goes on. But lets talk about what carbs actually are and how they function.


Carbohydrates are at their simplest form, a chain of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms like most other compounds found in the universe. For the most part, carbs consist of a higher ratio of hydrogen to oxygen. Hence the name carboHYDRATE. As the good old internet states carbs are synonymous with saccharides. And that term consists of sugars, starches and fibrous compounds like cellulose.

Carbs are then subdivided into mono, di, oligio and polysaccharides. Generally speaking, carbs provide a source of energy and in some cases offer structural support in the terms of cellulose in plants. Here's where the lines start to blur a tad. Not all carbs are the same when it comes to energy utilization and how biologically they fuel people. To simplify--the carbs found in a bagel will not have the same profile as vegetables that are higher in carbs--in terms of nutrition.


In terms of evolution, humans did not have the access to amount and type of carbs that they do now. In order to find and consume foods that had a higher carbohydrate profile waaayyy back in the day, humans needed to trek and seek them out. This led to an energy exchange that does not happen now when people consume carbs. Think of tribes or villagers that would venture out and gather up all they could find for their loved ones before Door Dash, Uber Eats or even a drive through. People worked for their food a lot more in history than we do today. Who knows how many miles they had to walk to find a source of simple carbs. And those carbs were definitely not the same as they carbs we consume today. Even if they were what I would define as carbs that are not the best choices like bananas, they still used the energy differently than we would use it today.

Differences in diet in terms of evolution also bring up the fact that we did not process, cook and consume carbs the way our ancestors did. Our ancestors from back in the day most likely did not consume a source of carbs that we without a doubt over consume. And those are grains. Grains are a very polarizing topic. Especially in the last few decades. Our relatives from a long time ago most likely had several options for grains. But they would not be close to what we consume today. To start, they did not have the exposure to toxins from industrialized agriculture practices. They also did not have the highly controversial genetically modified version of those grains like we do today.

Think what you will but those few factors make a big difference in terms of how humans react to those types of carbs. The simple example of this would be that at some point I am sure you may have had the discussion of how when someone has traveled to another country and they eat a certain type of carb overseas, they do not have the same reaction that they do to those carbs in the states. The fact that for most people, carbs are the majority of their diet. And with the crackpot guidelines and recommendations set by government bodies, most people are led down the wrong exit on the nutrition highway. Take a walk through any modern grocery store and you will find that the options of foods that are available to purchase reflect modern diets. Chips, crackers, cookies, "energy bars", healthy low fat high carb snacks, dried fruit, breads, pastries, baked goods, candy etc etc.

Even when you go to a sit down restaurant, you don't even have to pay for carbs when you get there. Within a few minutes of you being seated, you are handed a menu of choices then at some point, the host or hostess will bring you a free plate or basket of carbs. Chips for salsa that are most likely genetically modified. Bread that has close to 30 different ingredients in it. You would not find this with a high protein food item. To much disappointment to many. How awesome would that be to go to an expensive steakhouse and be seated and be welcomed with a small basket of ribeye or filet mignon and have the menu have high priced loaves of bread!!

Like it or not its things like this add up and can have adverse health outcomes. Carbs are the easiest way to help you feel satiety after a meal. This makes sense when you understand that carbs help facilitate tryptophan release which then helps facilitate serotonin production. So there is some truth to why you feel great (for a short time) after you eat a sub from Jersey Mike's or the endless breadsticks at Olive Garden.

I would like to make a point that not all carbs are created equally. And when reading ingredients on most packaged carbs, less is more. Usually, that means less processed ingredients which is always a good thing when choosing what carbs you eat. After diets like The Paleo Diet and Ketogenic based diets became popularized in the last few years, carbs became even more marginalized. This can lead to a lot of confusion for folks who are as familiar with nutrition as health professionals. The way that certain foods in the store have been labeled recently further adds to the confusion. This was briefly discussed in the last blog but companies will only focus on what is selling and trending. This is why there are certain items labeled as keto friendly or paleo safe. And just to be clear, if you are focusing primarily on a ketone based diet, "keto bread" should be off the list for you. You cannot hop on and off the keto bus as you feel and have the body use ketones for fuel. The whole idea is to shift your source of energy from simple saccharides to fatty acids.

Not all carbs are equal or maybe the saying should be all carbs are innocent until proven otherwise. I think that if you consume carbohydrates, if you use the less is more approach, for the most part they will work with your biology and not against it like other carbs. Think of it this way, if you bake a potato and add herbs for seasoning, that potato will have a different effect on your wellness than if it was fried in man made oils and had un-pronouncable nouns on its label. Like one of my teachers stated years ago--"If you have a macro-nutrient deficient diet, you will have a deficiency in your wellness".


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