Safe weight loss and carbohydrates go together. Carbohydrates tend to be the most varied of the food groups. Too many carbohydrates consumed will trigger excess insulin secreted into your bloodstream which causes the body to store fat. As a result, some safe weight loss programs tend to isolate carbohydrates as a villain and think that the best route to safe weight loss is to completely eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. It is an attractive theory because, as a participant, you are allowed to load up on protein. Steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner! However, safe weight loss can also occur if proper amounts and differing groups of carbohydrates are consumed at proper levels along with protein and fat. By properly combining foods, you can still have it all and experience weight loss. You may lose weight by just eating steak all day. A friend of mine lost weight by eating popcorn for 30 consecutive days. But, have you stopped to consider how much a body is penalized by depriving it of the proper materials needed to maintain energy, immunity, tissue, muscle, bone, etc.?
Carbohydrates include starches such as potatoes, bread, sugars, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate. As you can see, most carbohydrates are derivatives of plants. Only milk and milk products are animal-derived.
Simple Carbohydrates And Complex Carbohydrates
If your goal is safe weight loss, you must understand the relationship between protein, fat and carbohydrates. We’ll first talk about simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. If you’re wondering about safe weight loss and fat, you’ll find a more in-depth discussion in other pages of the website. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups: Simple Carbohydrates And Complex Carbohydrates. A simple carbohydrate is a simple sugar that includes fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (milk sugar). Complex carbohydrates are more sophisticated chains of sugars that include fibrous foods and starches such as green vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Carbohydrates provide energy to bodily cells. They are the chief source of blood glucose which is the major fuel for bodily cells and the only form of energy required for the brain and red blood cells. All carbohydrates – both simple and complex – are converted into glucose in the small intestine. Glucose then proceeds to the liver where it is processed into glycogen, is stored by the liver, then the liver converts it back to glucose as the body needs it. Excess glucose from carbohydrates are converted by the liver into fatty acids and stored in the body as fat.
Carbohydrates and Insulin Levels
Carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels in different ways. When a carbohydrate is consumed, blood sugar levels rise which prompts the pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin’s purpose is to maintain proper blood sugar levels so it, in effect, counterbalances the rising effect of blood sugar levels initiated by the consumption of carbohydrates. If excess carbohydrates are consumed, large quantities of insulin are secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas. After blood sugar levels reduce to normal, excess insulin may still be evident. Excess insulin will cause the body to store fat which is why some safe weight loss programs promote a no-carbohydrate diet such as the Dr. Atkins Diet.
The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index is a good tool to use en route to your safe weight loss regimen or if you want to just stay aware of your level of carbohydrate intake. It measures the blood sugar response to various carbohydrates. A high glycemic index scores 70+; a moderate glycemic index scores 40-69 and a low glycemic index scores less than 39.
Let’s review the carbohydrate list to see where our popular foods score:
- Starches = 110. Refined starches are considered to be high-glycemic foods and include rice, corn, wheat, white potatoes, bagels, pastas, cookies, cake, muffins, chips, crackers, popcorn, baked potatoes and rice cakes.
- Sugars = 80-90. Moderate to high glycemic foods such as table sugar, candy, honey, molasses and rice syrup.
- Dark Chocolate = 63. Moderate glycemic. Milk chocolate has a higher glycemic value because it contains more sugar.
- Fruits = 40-75. Low to moderate glycemic and includes apples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, figs, berries and pears.
- Vegetables = 20-40. Low glycemic and includes all vegetables including yams and sweet potatoes. Not included are corn and white potatoes.
Safe Weight Loss and Fat
Safe weight loss and fat is an important combination, can be mentioned in the same sentence and yes, fat is healthy for you. Surprisingly, fats are an essential part of a safe weight loss program and contribute to health. Contrary to some beliefs, fat does not immediately transform itself to an oversized belly or hips. Of course, overeating fat does cause weight gain but combining proper fats and eating the “right” fats will contribute to a healthy diet and can assist you in your quest for safe weight loss. Yes, weight loss!
The Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids
To achieve safe weight loss, it is important to understand dietary fats and how they work in your body. There are benefits to eating dietary fats, especially those known as essential fatty acids. Dietary fats are those fats that you eat or ingest. Essential fatty acids or EFA’s are fats not found in the body. That is, essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body. Therefore, they must be ingested. Essential fatty acids are also needed by the body for crucial weight loss and metabolism processes. The following list offers fat facts and ways in which fat contributes to safe weight loss and good physical health:
- fat is needed in order for the body to manufacture hormones, i.e., thyroid gland, regulate menopause, provide energy for sex, and contribute to muscle mass;
- insulin production depends on a proper balance of fats;
- fat is required in order for the body to produce red blood cells;
- fat lubricates bodily joints;
- essential fatty acids regulate the transport of oxygen;
- essential fatty acids assist in the formation of cells, especially those in the nervous system;
- essential fatty acids or EFA’s increase the metabolic rate;
- essential fatty acids improve skin and hair;
- essential fatty acids reduce high blood pressure;
- essential fatty acids reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
- some essential fatty acids become prostaglandins which are crucial factors in insulin production and indirectly assist the body in burning fat.
- Prostaglandins, derived from essential fatty acids, can act as an anti-depressant;
- Prostaglandins, derived from essential fatty acids, prevent allergies;
- Prostaglandins, derived from essential fatty acids, aid the immune system;
- Prostaglandins, derived from essential fatty acids, reduce joint inflammation;
- Prostaglandins, derived from essential fatty acids, assist in transporting cholesterol through the body.
As is becoming evident, essential fatty acids or EFA’s assist the body in safe weight loss and actually help to reduce fat stores.
And in case you’re wondering, body fat is fat that your body stores in its adipose tissue.
There are Two Types of Essential Fatty Acids
The two types of essential fatty acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Omega-3’s offer tremendous safe weight loss and health benefits by speeding up the body’s fat burning processes. Omega-3’s can be found in deep water fish as well as flaxseed and walnut oil.
Omega-6’s are found in raw nuts, legumes and seeds and in some oils. Omega-6, together with Omega-3’s, are crucial to brain function as well as normal growth, development, safe weight loss and good health.
What’s the Deal About Cholesterol?
Too much cholesterol is not healthy. However, too little cholesterol is not healthy, either. Dietary cholesterol is not the same as blood cholesterol. What’s interesting about high blood cholesterol levels is that you’ve already been given the recipe to avoid it. The dietary foods that cause high blood cholesterol levels are the same foods that raise triglyceride levels. Remember what happens when you ingest high triglyceride foods? Your body overproduces insulin which causes your body to store fat.
Here’s a good weight loss tip: if you have high blood cholesterol levels, you would most likely be advised to guard your intake of starches and other high glycemic foods, alcohol and dietary fat. Remember that safe weight loss and carbohydrates go hand in hand. You would be advised to exercise (more), as well.
Safe Weight Loss and Protein
Safe weight loss and protein go hand in hand. Proteins are essential to safe weight loss and good health. Proteins provide all of the critical fat-burning components needed in order for safe weight loss to occur. Lacking protein, the body becomes fatigued prematurely. As a result, the most common tendency for people today is to grab for high sugar alternatives to boost energy levels and consequent weight gain occurs, not weight loss. Protein ranks second behind water as the largest contributor of body weight including muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails and hair.
Protein provides energy and allows the body to manufacture hormones, antibodies, enzymes and tissue. Proteins are broken down by the body into amino acids then carried via the portal vein to the liver which, in turn, passes the amino acids to the bloodstream which carries them to tissue.
Protein assists in safe weight loss by stimulating the pancreas to produce glucagons, a hormone that releases stored fat from cells for energy. The glucagon benefit can be negated though if excess insulin levels abound. Protein also strengthens the immune system. A meal high in protein can raise a metabolic rate by 30% compared to a 4% rise with a carbohydrate diet.
Proteins can be complete and incomplete. A complete protein contains all of your essential amino acids. An essential amino acid cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained through consumption. Amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan an valine.
A complete protein is found in fish, meats, seafood, poultry, eggs and cheese which also contain high levels of B vitamins. Interestingly, soybean products are incomplete proteins because they lack methionine. It’s fine to incorporate soy in your safe weight loss diet plan but you should consider supplementing it with another food that contains methionine.
Incomplete proteins contain some but not all of your essential amino acids. An incomplete protein is grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and some leafy vegetables. Unfortunately, peanut butter and other nut butters like almond and cashew are incomplete proteins and are just components to a safe weight loss regimen. However, all is not lost. By properly combining your foods over the course of 24 hours, the body can assimilate incomplete proteins to complete proteins. For example, legumes such as pinto beans, navy beans, black beans and lentils can be combined with brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat. Or, brown rice can be combined with legumes, nuts seeds, or wheat. All is not lost. As you can see, protein not only helps you to lose weight but to also nourish your body.