The Lesson We Learned from Carbohydrates

Over the last thirty years, food nutritionists and the food industry as a whole have embraced the idea of lowering our fat intake by raising our carbohydrate intake.  This belief was a direct result of the information published by the government that encouraged less egg consumption because of the cholesterol found in eggs.  After that particular piece of information, doctors began to discover that when we consume fat, we have higher incidences of cholesterol problems.  The logical conclusion: fat must be bad for you.  And so, an entire generation as grown up with fat-free foods.  A whole generation grew up believing that fat was what made us fat, clogged our arteries, and generally caused ill-health.

So what did we do? We turned to carbs to make up for the loss in taste in foods where the fat had been removed.  For you see, fat is what gives many of our foods their delicious taste.  When you remove the fat, the taste must be artificially injected into the food.  The end result is a food that is higher in carbohydrate content, but lower in fat.  Hence, all the wonderful labels displaying  the claim of “fat free” but neglect to mention the higher level of carbohydrates.  Lowered fat should have created a population of slim, trim, healthy people. Right?

We could not have been further from the truth.  As it turns out, fat is a necessary part of our metabolic processes.  We need the fat in order to properly utilize many of the vitamins and nutrients we consume.  When did we make this discovery?  Probably some thirty years too late for some people.

Over indulgence in carbohydrates therefore lends us a tendency to become overweight. What happens in our bodies when we become overweight?  Once our bodies are obese, many organs have trouble functioning, due to fat surrounding them, or simply the fact that we are too large for them to properly support.

Either way, too many carbohydrates leads to problems for our bodies.  We can limit our intake of carbohydrates by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Less bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and grains lowers our intake of carbohydrates.

Perhaps Dr. Atkins, the renowned diet doctor, was right, better to consume more fat than more carbohydrates.  If you’ve read about this diet, it encourages the consumption of fat, while almost eliminating the consumption of carbohydrates.  I, myself have lost weight using the Atkins diet.  I don’t believe however, that it is good for your body to swing from one extreme to another.

The other option we have is to simply increase our daily physical activity.  Carbohydrates as previously pointed out are the fuel producer for the body.  If we want to rid ourselves of more carbohydrates, we simply need to pickup our daily activity.  If you aren’t exercising, now would be a great time to start.

Responsible eating habits, proper nutrition and exercise, and an understanding of the foods you eat and what they contain that your body needs or doesn’t need is the basic building block for overall good health.

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