You can’t ban carbohydrates out of your diet entirely, as unrefined carbs contain essential nutrients needed for the production of energy in the body. Carbohydrates are commonly classified into simple and complex carbohydrates, but they can also be categorized as refined and unrefined carbohydrates.
Unrefined carbohydrates are rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals. Refined carbs on the other hand, are those foods which have been processed by machines. These machines strip all the goodness from food types and give food a finer texture, prolonging its shelf life and removing all important nutrients such as fiber and B vitamins.
Fibre is essential for eliminating toxins through good bowel movements, which are essential in order to have a healthy immune system. We need to eat at least 40 grams of fiber-rich foods every day because fiber helps with regulating blood sugar levels. Fibre-rich foods also make you feel full and can, therefore, help with managing your weight.
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All the Goodness Stripped from Whole Grains
The reason why refined carbs are bad for is that – whole grains, for instance, are made up of 3 parts – the bran, endosperm and germ. The germ and bran are the most nutritious parts of the grain and have vitamins, mineral, fiber and antioxidants in them.
However, during the refining process, the germ and bran are totally removed, and the endosperm is left. This part of the grain is the part that is of no good for your body, as it is made up of starchy carbohydrates, and low in nutrients.
Some grocery shoppers are quite satisfied when they see on some labels the works ‘enriched wheat flour’ as they believe they are getting added goodness. Some nutrients have been added back to refined grains and flours during manufacturing, but essentially only represent a very small portion of what is initially removed from the grain in the first place.
Refined Carbs to Avoid
Refined carbohydrates such as those found in packaged cereals, white bread, pasta, white flour, sweets and pies etc have undergone manufacturing processes, and they are the kinds of carbs that you want to avoid. These kinds of carbohydrates don’t have the necessary nutrients in them that are so beneficial to your health.
There was also once a time when it was believed that low stomach acid for instance, was a problem reserved for the elderly, but we are seeing more children being affected in these modern times.
Diets high in refined foods decrease the body’s need for hydrochloric acid, and refined carbs don’t contain their own enzymes, which help with digestion. When you start adding unrefined foods to your diet, digestion is immediately improved.
Good digestion is of course, paramount to good health. If you aren’t digesting and absorbing what you eat, you are missing out on the benefits of your food.
No Nutrition – No Performance
Refined carbs do not contain the necessary nutrients that are so beneficial for health. World class athletes will tell you how important correct nutrition is for optimal performance. Refined carbs won’t help an athlete cope with the ongoing energy required, to finish a marathon or endurance race.
Research shows that consumption of refined products is the leading cause of diseases and disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and cardiovascular problems. Carbs that have been refined digest quickly and this can result in surges in blood sugar levels.
Refined carbs contain a lot of sugar, and sugar can increase your risk of developing cancer, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and headaches.
Refined Carbs and their Impact on Kids
For parents, it is important to take note that concentrated fruit juices are also a high source of sugar. Children today spend too much time in front of the TV, in front of their computers and on their cell phones.
On TV they see plenty of advertisements where they are encouraged to eat fried foods, hamburgers and to also drink fizzy cold drinks. Do you know that each 355 milliliter serving of a carbonated, sweetened soft drink has got the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar in it? Certainly consuming a sweetened soft drink every day is going to increase a child’s risk of obesity.
Kids and Diabetes
Carrying too much weight puts a strain on the entire body and can lead to serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes. Some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are tiredness, increased thirst and urination, blurred vision and slow healing of infections. Even if your child doesn’t have any of these symptoms, just being overweight is a good enough reason to have your child checked by a doctor, to test for insulin resistance.
As well as type 2 diabetes, childhood obesity can cause high cholesterol, hormonal disorders, inflammation and high blood pressure. Dietary changes are absolutely imperative for diabetics, and the most important dietary changes to make for patients with carbohydrate metabolism disorders are:
- Eat more dietary fiber and nutrient-dense foods.
- Eat the appropriate foods for your blood type – an emphasis on low glycemic and high fiber foods in combination with eating the correct foods compatible with your blood type is a powerful method of promoting systemic healing.
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals made up of lower glycemic index foods.
Childhood Obesity on the Rise
Some parents these days lead such busy lives, which results in them using take-aways and fast food as a quick and easy meal solution. This kind of diet is robbing children of their health and the energy they need to be not only active and happy, but to also succeed in school and in life. Yes, these foods do provide a surge of energy, but this energy is short lived.
Certainly, refined carbohydrates are contributing to a rise in childhood obesity, which can lead to lifelong ill health for children. As well as the physical effects, there is also the social and psychological aspects of obesity, which can make children miserable.
Good food choices for kids are a true gift from their parents. Parents need to educate themselves about proper nutrition, and to educate their children about the dangers of junk food and refined carbohydrates. You want to surely give your child a good start in life and to establish healthy eating habits, that will last them their entire lifetime.
Refined foods, simply put, are deficient in nutrients, and eating foods devoid of nutrients will cause the immune system to falter, so that it can no longer cope with the daily onslaught of toxins, stress and the thousands of germs that attack it. To keep our immune system in peak condition, we must eliminate disease-causing foods.
Eat Foods in the Whole Form
The simplest way towards a healthy life, is to eat foods in their whole form wherever and whenever possible. Consuming food as nature intended is the wisest approach toward good health.
The idea is to avoid foods which have been processed or altered from their original state, and which have been grown in soils with chemical additives, fertilizers and pesticides.
The negative effects of sugar consumption are well documented, more so in the 21st century. The documentary ‘That Sugar Film’ was released, portraying the detrimental effects of sugar as we consume it every day.
The movie follows the life of health fanatic, Damon Gameau, as he follows a high sugar diet of regular, off-the-shelf products. The purpose of the movie is to demonstrate the evils of sugar and to show how it can cause weight gain and mood swings, which can even lead to depression.
There has been plenty of criticism about the film, but that is beside the point. The point being made is that people are becoming more aware of how important it is to eliminate bad refined foods from their diet, in the pursuit of optimum health.
Eliminate Refined Carbs from Your Diet – It’s as Simple as That!
Certainly, our demand for fast foods and the ability of processed foods to be left on the shelf for months has been one of the bases for our poor health. So devoid of nutrition are processed foods that they can be described as disease-causing.
To keep our immune system in peak condition, we need to first eliminate refined carbs from our diets. Nutrient-rich foods need to be eaten every day to guard against illness.
We have even heard of raw fruits and vegetables being the foundation for certain cancer cures. The point is that in the 21st century, times have changed drastically, and our food supply has been abused and our health is suffering the consequences of processing and refinement.
Unfortunately, in modern times, our agricultural soil often lacks minerals due to the use of insecticides and pesticides, while plants lose most of their nutrients if they are artificially ripened. This is why it is becoming more important to eat organically grown fruit and vegetables whenever possible.
For many people however, organic fruit and vegetables are not readily available, and then it may become necessary for them to take vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Many people, especially teenagers and those who are on some kind of a diet, skip breakfast and then fill up on refined carbohydrates mid morning which results in poor nutrition.
Refined Carbs – The World’s Staple Diet
Just like snack foods in boxes and bags such as crisps and peanuts, carbs such as white bread, white rice and pasta are eaten every day by millions of people around the world. These foods are made with refined grains and have high glycemic index ratings, making your blood sugar spike rapidly.
This is because carbohydrates such as refined sugar, pasta, and bread are easier for your body to change into glucose. The glycemic index allows you to differentiate the good carbs from the bad carbs and to keep your blood sugar more steady.
Carbs are defined by their glycemic index which is this rating system indicating how fast they break down into glucose and increase blood-sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates, which break down quickly are known as high glycemic foods, while slow-digesting complex carbs are known as low glycemic.
There are different ways to achieve a low glycaemic load, and the first one is to eat protein rather than carbohydrates – the other is to, if you are going to eat carbohydrates, make sure you are eating carbohydrates that have a low glycaemic load and as a result release their sugar very slowly.
Avoid Becoming Toxic
Diets of refined- and quickly digested carbohydrates may also cause what is known as fatty liver. The liver is the most powerful organ of the body’s defense system, because it is the organ of the body’s detoxification system.
If the liver fails, the body experiences profound toxicity, and if the liver is not repaired, death ensues. Fatty liver disease is on the upsurge among populations around the world, and is actually suggested to be the by-product of the obesity epidemic.
The liver is our speedy toxic disposal system and the immune system would be totally lost without the liver. Fatty liver is becoming more common in children too, especially overweight children, and as they grow up and age, this can turn into full-blown liver disease. A low-glycemic index diet can reverse fatty liver in overweight children.
Change the Way You Think
What you eat and drink has a tremendous impact on your well-being, your emotions and your energy. Celebrity, Gwyneth Paltrow is quick to say how eating refined carbs actually affected her emotions negatively, and that these days she is totally committed to cutting sugar and processed foods from her and her children’s diets.
Cutting back on sugar, alcohol and carbs has helped her manage her moods, and the popular Oscar award-winning actress and the business woman says she thanks the day she made the connection between healthy eating and mental health.
Celebrities, nutritionists or whether it is an ordinary person on the street – those in the know can’t stress enough how important is to understand that most health problems of the 21st century – stress, inflammation obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer – can be treated and beaten without having to resort to medications and drugs.
Many modern-day illnesses such as arthritis have an emotional component, and once you start looking at simple, affordable techniques such as changing your diet the way Gwyneth Paltrow, and many others have done, you will be able to combat your chronic fatigue, your moods, your allergies, cancer and depression.
Take a Careful Look at the Food Choices You Make
Remember that all the chronic diseases of lifestyle are associated with the wrong eating habits. There are no easy solutions to weight loss, better health and better moods – so be aware of all the overnight magical pills and fad diets on the market. Rather take a careful look at the food choices you make, and start making small changes that you know you can maintain, and that will become a new way of healthy eating for you.