6 Jun 2012
I get the distinct pleasure of hearing from our customers and when someone as enthused about Uncle Sam as Sally Hughes comes along, she makes us want to share the love. Here, she writes from her perspective of being a nutritionist and fitness trainer about “why complex carbs are your body’s best friend.”
“Fat burns in the flame of carbohydrates” is a well-known quote that seems to have gone out of fashion ever since ultra high-protein/low carb diets became trendy. Yet, while trends come and go, the one truism you can ALWAYS count on is that complex carbs are your body’s best friend!
Since all carbs aren’t created equal, it’s important to note the differences between complex carbs and simple ones.
Complex carbohydrates come from the starch and fiber in whole grains, legumes, potatoes and root vegetables. Simple carbs include the simple sugars found in fruits, milk, honey, sugar, beer, etc. Since fiber-rich complex carbs take longer to digest while simple carbs are quickly digested, they help you feel full longer and are therefore vital for weight loss. In addition, complex carbs help stabilize your blood sugar and play a key role in preventing ‘the afternoon crash’ so many people experience daily.
As a fitness trainer and nutritionist, I’ve heard many a new client lament about ‘the evils of carbs’ and the endless reasons why they shun them. What these new clients tend to have in common is they’re perpetually overweight, lethargic and constantly hungry. Consequently, it’s my job to relay this message: Complex carbs are your body’s best friend because fat really does burn in the flame of carbohydrates!
Since most of these new clients have tried countless fad diets yet remain as heavy if not heavier than ever, they must 1st accept the fact that the percentage of people who regain the weight they’ve lost on low carb/high protein diets is astounding due to 3 key factors:
1. You’ve lost fat-burning muscle and lowered your metabolism.
2. You’ve re-gained the healthy fluid lost via glycogen depletion.
3. All deprivation diets are impossible to maintain long-term and set you up for the yo-yo diet syndrome, more body fat, et al.
If they’re still not convinced that complex carbs are a staple of all healthy nutritional programs, I bid them the following:
◦ They provide fuel for all daily activity including basics like shopping/working plus aerobics, weight training, etc.
◦ They’re the primary fuel for the central nervous system which can not fully function without them.
◦ Carbohydrates are metabolic primers that are absolutely necessary to completely burn fat!
◦ When insulin levels are chronically too low as with very low carb diets, muscle protein breakdown increases and protein synthesis stops.
◦ Your metabolism adapts to prolonged low carb/high fat/high protein diets and significantly decreases over time.
◦ Unlike high glycemic index simple carbs that set you up to crash and constantly crave them, complex carbs are rich in fiber, low on the GI and vital to your overall health.
At this point, most of my former anti-carb clients are not only sold on trying my ‘Complex Carb Challenge” for 1 month, they’re begging me to tell them the best way to get them. And this is what I tell ‘em:
1. Uncle Sam Cereal is a MUST (wheat allergies aside, of course). Loaded with fiber, protein, omegas and more, it’s something I’ve eaten daily for a decade and also highly recommend to family and friends.
2. Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Asparagus, Mushrooms and Cauliflower are other good sources of complex carbohydrates.
3. Legumes (aka Beans) double as a complex carb plus an excellent source of lean low-fat protein.
4. Barley, Quinoa, Bulgur, Brown Rice, and Oats contain healthy fiber, fats, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and photo-chemicals.
5. Citrus Fruits are complex carbohydrates that provide a myriad of benefits including cancer and heart disease prevention.
So what are YOU waiting for?
Yours in fitness & health,
About the author: Founder Planet Shark Fitness … As a certified fitness trainer, nutritionist, and health and wellness consultant, Ms. Hughes provides personal fitness training, weight loss programs, nutrition consultations, private chef services, and “healthy” grocery shopping services for men and women of all ages.