Sunday, August 24, 2014

Breaking Bread

Bread is a villain in the modern diet world, avoided like the plague by many who claim to be eating healthy and/or trying to lose weight.  Limit the pasta, potatoes, sandwich bread, and hoagies and fill up on protein, perhaps accompanied with a salad.  Some followers of the low carbohydrate diet plan even limit fruit, due to their natural sugar content.

For those of you who have read some of my previous blogs, you know I am not in favor of eliminating food groups from one's daily food consumption.  Each group has a purpose, and each food group is needed in order to maintain the body's many functions.

I believe there is some confusion over the carb fad, and somehow people believe that ALL carbohydrates are the enemy.  There are three types of carbohydrates: starch, sugar, and fiber; the types of carbs that you consume are more important than how much.  In order to understand carbs as a broad term, it is necessary to know what the three types of carbohydrates are:

Starch-The Encyclopedia Britannica defines starch as a white, granular, organic chemical that is produced by all green plants. Starch is considered a complex carbohydrate since it goes through a few steps before converting to glucose used for energy in the body. Some foods high in starch are potatoes, corn, butternut squash, and peas. 

Sugar-There are basically two types of sugar; naturally occurring sugars and sugar additives.  Fruits, vegetables, and milk are foods that contain naturally occurring sugars, while cookies, cereals, cakes, and soft drinks are some foods that have added sugars.

Fiber-The body cannot digest fiber, and unlike the other two carbohydrates, fiber is not broken down in sugar molecules.  Fiber aids in digestion, helps to keep blood sugar at good levels, and regulates the body's use of sugar. We find this valuable part of the human diet in foods like whole grains, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. 

Diets limiting carbohydrates as a whole group are neglecting to provide the body with many important foods. Whole grains found in pastas, bread, and cereals are essential in providing energy and nutrients to our body and the CDC still recommends that most of our caloric intake is from carbohydrate sources.  Starches are important due to their conversion into energy, and to help keep you feeling full because they are digested slowly.  Fruits and vegetables are irreplaceable in the human diet since they contain everything from healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

There are carbs that do not provide much nutritional benefit to the human body, these are the carbohydrates that should be avoided.  White flours found in breads and desserts are stripped of the important layers that the whole grain originates with.  Likewise, added sugars are used for flavoring foods, and do not play a role in providing nutrients to the human body.

Yes, this blog was informative, maybe even borderline boring to some extent.  But in order to get my point across I feel that the reader should know the facts and not solely my opinion when it comes to certain topics.  Point is, carbs are not "bad," they are an important part of our diets.

Our bodies are amazing in many ways, from their ability to move, to repair itself, to fight off harmful bacterias and diseases, and to metabolize the foods we provide it with.  When I think about all of the jobs our body has, I cannot help but wonder why people would not want to treat it with respect and give it the best treatment with have available.  In order to do that, we need to make sure we are eating ALL of the important foods that maintain our bodily functions, and sustain our daily and lifelong needs.  And, to be honest, life without pasta is just dull :)

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