The quick carb fix

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Be mindful of carbohydrate intake. KT/Chor Sokunthea

There are so many eating plans and healthy fads out there, so how do you know what one is right for you? While some people avoid carbohydrates (carbs) like the plague, others vow that they best thing since sliced bread (pardon the pun).

Average daily consumption

The normal carbohydrate intake is anywhere between 200-400 grams. It is dependent on the total calorie intake, so this roughly is about 200-300 per day if your diet is 2000 calories. I imagine that this intake is drastically increased in many Asian countries, where rice is often the staple food. While traditionally the high-carb diet has kept these nations fuelled, it can come unstuck with the introduction of other cultures of food. The most damaging is combining the high-carb diet with one high in fat and protein – especially fast food.

Addicted to carbohydrates

It is possible to be addicted to carbs. More specifically, sugar is the culprit. Consistently eating a diet high in carbs causes the pancreas to produce more insulin and eventually the cells can become resistant to insulin which can result in type 2 diabetes, commonly called middle aged onset diabetes.

Also eating large amounts of simple carbs such as rice in a single sitting can result in a carb coma or intense feeling
of sleepiness.

Keeping healthy on a high carb diet

It is not all doom and gloom as there are simple steps to keeping yourself healthy while embarking on a high-carb diet. Firstly, there are two main types of carbs: simple and complex.

Complex carbs should be the essential foods you eat every day. Complex carbs include whole grains, green leafy vegetables, peas and beans and brown rice. Complex carbs are lower on the glycaemic index which means they are lower in sugars and higher in fibre.

Simple carbs are found in food such as sugar and fruit, so stay away from sugar as much as possible. This includes juice, white bread and other refined carbs. However, not all simple carbs are bad for you. Natural simple carbs in fruit, milk and yoghurt and cottage cheese are also rich in calcium. Reducing your intake of simple carbs is essential to keeping
a healthy balance in your diet.

The essentials of a high-carb diet

Another important factor to a successful high-carb diet is to reduce your fat intake. Protein should only be consumed in small amounts. Palm-sized portions are a good guide to keep on track with this.

Do eat complex carbs and limit your intake of simple carbs.

Do your research and identify foods high in complex carbs.

Do read labels and reduce those foods high in sugar.

Do eat brown rather than white when it comes to pasta and bread.

Do eat sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes.

A diet comprising of healthy whole food is so important, so limit your intake of packaged and
fast foods.

Only you will know the type of food plan that will work best for you. So take charge and make it work for you.

Karen Owens, R.N.

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