As I was looking for the best carbohydrates I can find to provide complex sugars to give me energy I found a dark and confusing place that I am not sure I’ve completely recovered from–it is similar to Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole and finding a whole new upside down backwards world.
Like Alice, I became fascinated and then horrified about what I was learning and eventually finding my way back to the real world.
And since I am not very science minded–at least I don’t think so–I will try to explain my findings, or lack thereof.
So here it is. Too many carbohydrates are bad because they break down into simple sugars too fast in our system creating a spike in sugar.
The body, in its infinite wisdom, produces a lot of insulin to bring the sugar levels back to normal, overcompensates with too much insulin and then we crash. We feel weak and tired.
The body (mostly the liver) is working overtime to clean out the extra sugar and insulin.
Meanwhile, we begin to crave more sugar (or carbs) to make us feel better and most of us give in and have more carbs–putting us right back on the cycle of a spike and a crash.
At the same time, the body (on the inside) is experiencing stress from having to produce the insulin and fix itself and then clean itself out and that stress slows down and sometimes stops digestion–so the body stores all the extra stuff we did not use–as fat.
Like I said–a scary rabbit hole. But our travels in the upside down world are not over, Alice–there’s more.
Most of the carbohydrates we consume are not only empty calories, as we have heard many nutrition gurus tell us, they are also made up of chemicals.
Chemicals our bodies cannot absorb or break down because the body cannot identify them as a carbohydrate or a protein or a vitamin. So these chemicals build up in the body–in our fat–and for many of us it creates disease or conditions and for others it just makes us feel blah.
Diabetes, IBS, heart disease, high blood pressure, gluten intolerance, foggy brain, undefined pain, allergies, unexplained inflammation, eczema, depression, chronic fatigue, cancer, autism and infertility to name a few are thought to be caused by chemicals in our food and our environment.
Now wait–I am not saying we should go out a boycott anything and everything because of chemicals. Chemicals have their place in the society we live in. And our bodies are wonderful machines that can filter out things or adapt to new environments.
Like I said–the rabbit hole can be fascinating and terrifying at the same time. A balance is what I am looking for.
Here is what I am doing to find that balance–I am reading all our food labels. That in itself is a scary thing–but very eye opening! If a product has more than 5 ingredients I already know it could be trouble.
Here are a few things I try to minimize:
- Trans-Fat: this is also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat. I’m not even sure what it is yet–but it is not real–it is chemically made.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup: a substitute for real sugar. Sugar is bad enough–the substitute, is worse. I feel the same about any artificial sweeteners.
- Artificial Colors, artificial sweeteners, artificial fillers: the name pretty much spells it out Alice! It is genuine artificial–not real.
- Preservative: these are usually described on labels by their initials–MSG, BHT, BHA, TBHQ, etc–I can’t pronounce what they stand for but clearly a chemical compound.
So where is my balance? I realize we cannot go crazy and completely eliminate all these things–we just don’t have to take it to an extreme.
We are eating more salads and fruits and vegetables and looking for the right amounts of macro nutrients our body needs.
What about labels for the fruits and vegetables and salads? Well broccoli, whether organic or not, is real and doesn’t need a label–so I feel we are already better off than the bag of Hot Cheetos!
And at some point we need to get out of the rabbit hole or we will get stuck in the upside down backwards world!
Have I found the best Carbohydrates yet? Not really–it’s a journey…and I will get back with you on that.
In the meantime, I am going to read my labels and continue my search. I hope you’ll come along for the trip!
What have been your findings in your health journey with processed foods? Comment below or send me your thoughts, comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org