Making the right choice!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few decades there are a few things you should know as fact rather than theory by now- exercise is good for you, smoking is bad for you and food choices dictate your overall health!! Now, if I may draw your attention to the word CHOICE.

Your health and wellbeing not to mention your body shape and fitness are all set by the foods you choose to eat, whether that’s something you may not of known or its something you fail to acknowledge makes no difference, its as simple as that. If you choose to eat a diet devoid of nutrient then your diet in turn will leave your body, devoid of nutrient, simple.

Your body will adapt to what you expose it to most, so for the sake of stating the obvious I will, if you consume large quantities of refined simple sugars (which your body will store happily as fat) your body will take a certain shape as a result of stored bodyfat.

I am not a big believer in overcomplicating matters just to sound clever so here it is- cut simple sugar out of your daily diet, your body composition will improve and you will be much healthier as a result. Interested? Then you will need to know a bit more.

Sugar or carbohydrate can present itself as either simple or complex. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules hence they are the quickest source of energy and they are very quickly digested, this may sound like a useful food to have around but as the examples will show these foods are without sustenance. Examples of simple sugars are- table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, jams, jellys, fruit drinks, soft drinks and candy.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand may be referred to as dietary starch and are rich in fibre thus satisfying and health promoting, they are often found in whole plant foods and are for that reason high in vitamins and minerals. Examples of complex carbohydrates are- fruits, green vegetables, peppers, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn and pumpkin, there are also beans, lentils and peas and finally whole grains and foods made from them like oats, pasta, rice and whole grain breads.

From the above examples it’s pretty clear that simple sugars should be largely avoided, omitted and have no place in a healthy diet. Complex carbohydrates conversely are more fibrous and nourishing and are therefore a better choice of food.
So with simple sugars off the menu let’s take a closer look at our complex carbohydrates, as they are not all created equal. Some complex carbohydrates are better for you than others and this can be clearly seen through a foods glycemic index or load which refers to a foods impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. A high glycemic index or glycemic load indicates a higher blood sugar and insulin spike. Insulin is a storage hormone made by the pancreas that allows our bodies to use sugar from carbohydrates. It helps keep our blood sugar from getting too high or too low. Too much sugar over a sustained period of time can damage the bodies ability to use insulin effectively.

Starchier foods such as white rice, pasta and white bread elicit a much higher glycemic response or blood sugar / insulin spike and should be kept to a minimum for optimal body composition. Dark green leafy vegetables and other fibrous carbohydrates such as brown rice, lentils and beans elicit a much lower blood glucose response. It is for this reason that these should be the common choice of dietary carbohydrate.

For sustained energy throughout the day, better body composition, improved concentration, and better overall health blood sugar is best kept consistent as opposed sharp rises and sheer drops which would be the case if your daily diet is largely simple sugars and starchy carbohydrates. Choose your foods wisely!!