Carbohydrates: The Fascinating Truth

Carbs

Do you feel yourself yearning for an unhealthy snack a few hours after dinner? What about every day around 3 o’clock? You might have even made healthy decisions all day, maybe even all week and suddenly you’re hit with a bad case of the munchies. You crave food that you know you shouldn't eat and eventually, you cave in and break into that bag of potato chips or that box of cookies. Sound familiar? You’re probably addicted to sugar. This may come as a bit of a surprise to you, in fact most people think they are addicted to carbs. People avoid carbs like the plague because they think carbs make you gain weight or get fat. The truth is, the carbohydrates people crave (i.e. pizza, bread, pretzels and potato chips) are broken down almost instantly upon entering the body and are turned into millions of sugar molecules.

The problem with this is that sugar causes the brain to release opiates which stimulate the pleasure center, making us feel all happy inside and leaving us wanting more. In addition, it spikes our blood sugar, causing our moods and energy to go up and then sky rocket down. Besides making you feel like crap, the “low” leaves us feeling unsatisfied and makes us crave more sugar, leading to overeating.

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So what can you do? If you have a chronic sweet tooth try eliminating all sugars from your diet including artificial sweeteners like Stevia or Splenda. In addition, avoid sweeteners like honey agave and maple syrup as they have the same opiate effect on the brain. When in doubt, eat fruit and read labels!

If carbs seem to be your problem try eliminating processed carbs for awhile including highly processed bread, pasta, cookies and pretzels. Aim to eat whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa.

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