Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and they are vital for providing energy for our bodies and brains. Without them, we would be comatose zombies. When we eat food, our bodies turn the carbohydrates into glucose for immediate energy and the rest is stored as glycogen for reserves.
An endurance-training athlete should consume approximately 6 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight; a strength-training athlete should try for 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. If you are endurance training and would like to determine your carbohydrate needs and you weigh say 154 pounds:
154 pounds / 2.2 pounds = 70 kilograms 70kg x 6 = 300 grams of carbohydrates per day, or 1200 calories of carbohydrates per day (300 calories x 4 calories / gram for carbohydrates)
High-carbohydrate foods include whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, bagels, pita bread, tortillas and rolls, crackers, rice and pasta, dried fruit, fresh fruit and fruit juice, white or sweet potatoes, and some sport bars.
Which Carbohydrates are you putting in your body...tell me you are not simple, but very complex? All carbs are not created equal. There are two types: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates...NOT...they are as nutritionally beneficial as wax paper. They are mostly made up of sugar, which releases too quickly, almost violently, into our bodies, causing "sugar highs" and then "crashes". This tends to leave us feeling hungry, so we eat more. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are comprised of starch and fiber and release gradually, providing a steady source of energy. They make us feel full and satisfied and are easily broken down to release their energy.
Simple carbohydrates include white flour, white pasta (durum semolina), white rice, and white sugar. These are bad for you they give all carbs a bad name. For some reason, food manufacturers decided that we wouldn't buy their products unless they were white and soft. So they took natural grains, like brown rice and whole wheat, and stripped away all their nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to achieve the color and texture change. This refining process totally compromises the nutritional integrity of the food...all for appearances.
So companies then add these nutrients back into their refined, milled foods and use terms like "enriched or "fortified". But there's no use tying to fool with Mother Nature. Our bodies cannot absorb these added-in minerals with the same ease. Tragically, most cereals, pastas, rice, bagels, breads, cookies, muffins, cakes, and pastries have been made in this manner...boohoo! Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat these foods. Chances are you'll notice moderate to severe mood swings and energy surges and losses.
Fear not. There are so many complex carbohydrates (Mother Nature is generous) that you'll never miss the simple nothings. Bask in the glory of potatoes, yams , sweet potatoes, barley, corn, brown rice, beans, hummus, lentils, quinoa (grain, pronounced KEEN-wa), millet, pasta made from brown rice, whole wheat, or vegetables. Bionaturae, Ancient Harvest, Eddies Spaghetti, Lundberg Farms, Westbrae, Pastariso, and DeBoles Organic all carry these "good carb" pasts. Relish the beauty of breads and cookies and muffins made from whole wheat and other whole grains. (whole grains are any that haven't been bleached, stripped, or refined and still possess all the nutrients from the original grain). Food for Life has an amazing line of whole and sprouted grain breads, and Pacific Bakery and French Meadow Bakery carry organic breads that aren't to bad, either.
Do not forget the bounty of vegetables and fruits...complex carbs that supply the body with vitamins , minerals, and fiber. Yes that is right eat fruit. Fruit is, quite possibly, the most perfect food in existence. It is unique in that it barely requires any work to be digested. High in enzymes, it effortlessly passes through the body, supplying carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, and cancer-fighting tannins and flavonoids. Because it is made up of mostly water, fruit hydrates the body and aids in cleansing, detoxifying, and eliminating.