I don't know about you, but when I think comfort foods...I think
carbohydrates. Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake,
cheese cake, home baked bread, donuts, spaghetti, raviolis ... I could go
on and on.
do all of these food have in common? They are all high in
carbohydrates or starches. Now, I would never suggest that we go on
a diet that eliminates carbohydrates...no, no, no. So, why are our comfort
foods commonly carbohydrates? And, why do these foods
it's all in the brain...seriously. Carbohydrates
are broken down into glucose in the body. The brain uses about 60%
of the glucose you take in. This glucose is the brain's "energy
food". It helps in our body's attempt to
create the serotonin I was talking about before. The amino
acids are more readily absorbed in the brain after we've eaten a high
carbohydrate meal, and thus the serotonin levels in the brain are
if you're like me...I want my carbs and I want them now, so in goes the
donuts, cake etc. I'm mistaken in my process here. Research shows that eating complex carbohydrates
like whole grains, whole grain rice, non-wheat noodle products, baked
potatoes, baked sweet potatoes and fortified cereals are much better for
you. These type of starches are called complex
carbohydrates. They take longer to break down therefore the body feels
"fuller" longer, they usually have quite a bit less sugar, and
nutritionally they have more vitamins and minerals. Choose complex
carbohydrates that have been made with whole grain or wheatless
ingredients. You should also limit
your serving to 6-8 a day for women and 10-11 a day for men. (OK, I know that's
not fair...but it's life...lol)
many of you are saying, "Sugar IS a carbohydrate!"
You're right it is. Nevertheless, because of our
"addiction" to it, it deserves a section all by itself.
sugar is a simple carbohydrate it is readily absorbed by the body.
Absorption begins as soon as you pop it in your mouth. It is one of
the few foods that does not have to travel into the small intestine for
digestion and absorption.
also gives us a "quick" energy boost. Remember what I said
about the production of serotonin and our cravings of
problem with sugar is WE EAT WAY TOO MUCH!!! Americans eat over 140
pounds of sugar and related sweeteners each year! Unused sugar
is turned into a fat that is stored in our muscle tissues for later
use. Problem is...we have more stored each day.
sugar foods do give us a "quick energy boost". That quick
energy boost will also "crash" your blood sugar rapidly.
is also known as hypoglycemia. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia
are often mistaken for other things. They include: a sense of
impending doom, drowsiness, weakness, confusion, hunger, irritability,
dizziness, headache, tremors, sweating, rapid heart beat, and a
cold, clammy feeling to the skin.
tend to do exactly the wrong thing when we are feeling this way....we eat
another high sugar energy booster. It would be far better to drink
some skim milk or eat a half a sandwich. We won't have the rapid
increases and decreases then, as the sandwich is a complex carbohydrate,
it takes longer for our bodies to break them down and consequently our
blood sugars remain at a even level.
far as the artificial sweeteners go...the "pink" stuff can make
you crave carbohydrates even more. The "blue" stuff
has been known to affect EEG waves and have negative affects on people
suffering from mood disorders. I have not heard anything about the
"yellow" stuff, however it is made from real sugar, how they got
the calories out...I don't know. Check your favorite out on the web
in a search engine such as yahoo or google.
is a product made from the "sweet herb" plant. It can not
be sold as a sweetener in the US, but as a dietary supplement. The
leaves once harvested and dried are extremely sweet, about 300 times
sweeter than conventional sugar. It can also be purchased in health
food stores. Check out this link for more information on Stevia.
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