Carbohydrates and Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates are often viewed as the bad guys. Yet, we are the descendants of people that have eaten carbohydrates as food staples. Why are carbohydrates getting such bad press? Can they actually help with weight loss? What should you know?

As you escalate upwards on clothing sizes and notice bulges where you don’t want them, it may be time to consider weight loss. Many diets over the past 10 years have been lashing out on those nasty carbohydrates (carbs) and are professing that minimizing carbs help lead to weight loss quickly. The problem is we love our carbs. We need our carbs.

Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that are naturally found in most foods, excluding meat and fish. Basically, if it’s a plant (fruit, vegetable, legume,grain), juice, or dairy product, there are naturally occurring sugars or starches. Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.

Historically, people had high carbohydrate breakfasts because these natural sugars and starches provide bursts of energy required to start the day. In those days, people worked on farms and ranches. There were no cars and more people walked where ever they needed to travel to or rode on horses (that required upkeep). Carbs were considered great for most times in human history and, currently, in most uncivilized areas.

In civilized countries, sedentary lives suffer from too much carbohydrate intake. People drive cars, work with personal computers, and all sorts of mobile devices. Physical activity is more of an option as many more people choose to go home and watch TV for a few hours. Is this you?

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Your brain requires carbs for thinking as do many cellular networks. Sedentary lifestyles, following traditional eating habits formed for thousands of years, find that their trim bodies grow larger and they can’t figure out why.

A key problem is in society itself. Many “bought” foods use processed grains and add sugars to make them more palatable. These carbs are fine if you plan to go running for fifteen minutes after eating. The reason is these are simplex carbohydrates. These have simple, easily digestible carbs that are quickly absorbed by the body.

Examples of these are:
◾Table sugar
◾Brown sugar (including raw and organic sugar)
◾Corn syrup
◾Honey
◾Maple syrup
◾Molasses
◾Jams, jellies
◾Fruit drinks
◾Soft drinks
◾Candy

Then there are complex carbohydrates that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. The key difference between simple and complex carbs isn’t easily seen by your eye. It’s at microscopic levels. A carbohydrate is a molecule. Complex carbs have larger molecules than simple carbohydrates.

To understand this, you must be aware that our planet and everything on the planet and its atmosphere are made of atoms. There are many different types of atoms. When atoms are mixed together, you get molecules. For example, two hydrogen atoms meet one oxygen atom and, when they get together, the result is water. Zillions of these atomic bonds comprise our oceans. Carbohydrates are molecules, a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound. There are many different carbohydrate molecules and those differences lie in what makes one better for you than others.

Foods containing the healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients (nutritive molecules that help distinguish one food from another). Less healthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

How can carbohydrates promote heart disease? Excess sugar in the bloodstream can contribute to plaque, arterial wall residue and releases a hormone called insulin from your pancreas. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin. Insulin helps leads in the reduction of excess sugars and starches in the bloodstream that would be thickening blood, in high amounts. Insulin helps convert those carbs into energy.

When there are problems with insulin production, thicker blood in arteries can result in plaque that could disrupt vascular flow to your heart, brain, or elsewhere. This may contribute to strokes, heart attacks, and issues throughout the body.

One of the problems that can occur over time, in previously healthy individuals, is the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is usually found among obese people. In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. This is hyperglycemia, a condition of insulin resistance, where not enough insulin can be produced to deal with excessive carbohydrate consumption.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a hypoglycemia condition. Hypoglycemia may be a result that, when carbs are present in your bloodstream, excess insulin attacks them. Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body’s main energy source. Normally, there are certain pancreatic beta cells that help bring carbs to the cells but the flow is disrupted. In many cases, hypoglycemia occurs after meals because the body produces more insulin than is needed.
For those with hypoglycemia, excessive simple carbs can result in confusion, sleepiness, and (in extreme cases) unconsciousness. Other possible symptoms may include:

•Heart palpitations
•Shakiness
•Anxiety
•Sweating
•Hunger

When hunger occurs, a hypoglycemic is not satisfied after eating a full meal and feels the need to eat more. Eating more helps lead to excess weight gain and, perhaps, a higher degree of exhaustion.

How does your body react to carbs? There’s a rather long, tedious blood test that illustrates what happens after high-carb intake. The glucose tolerance test acts as a guide for you and your physician to take proper steps.

Carbohydrate consumption and problems associated with it may often be genetically linked, inherited through familial generations. In some ways, this may account for body appearance, and energy levels throughout a life span. Often, it can go undetected for many years under routine medical care.

Considering weight loss with carbohydrates? It is possible. The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA provides an excellent website with tons of information and recipes for each meal. Carb lovers needn’t worry. Slight modifications to how and when you eat, and how much you physically move, may contribute to an enduring weight loss program.

Carbs may not necessarily be the evil behind weight gain. How you consume carbs, especially mixed with excess saturated fats, may contribute to excess pounds. Consider that when you down a 4 ounce bad of chips and a liter of soda while wat5ching TV.

Knowing and using appropriate carbs and moving more actively may just help you achieve weight loss over time. Carbs are part of our history and are very addictive. Adapting responsible carb intake into a sedentary lifestyle may not be an easy task. Total carb withdrawal can be dangerous. Finding the responsible path may require aid from a certified nutritionist. Over years, you may find that your excess pounds have shed and your energy has improved, if you understand the virtues and dangers of carbs. It’s a lifestyle adaptation for the new lifestyle. It is not a quick-fix!

Control Carbohydrates with Cinnamon and Chromium

You are what you eat. Carbohydrates play large roles in most diets around the world. In countries where people are less active, these carbohydrates may lead to many averse health conditions, including obesity and diabetes. Carbohydrates are addictive. It’s very hard to eliminate use every day. Are there ways to control carbohydrates that are easy and effective?

Among the problems of today’s American diet are the necessity to focus on processed grain-based foods, such as breads, noodles, and pastas. These are rich in carbohydrates. Your body, through the pancreas, releases insulin to metabolize them. Most of these processed foods are full of simple sugars and starches that help boost energy quickly. Consequently, if you start sitting or doing relatively inactive work, the remaining carbs turn to fat. There are two mediators for this process and are available as supplements – Cinnamon and Chromium. These two haven been proven to be helpful to control carbohydrates in normal diets.

According to research, keeping blood sugar in check does everything from enhancing weight and fat loss and decreasing appetite to warding off several chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, etc. In contrast, foods that are rapidly digested and quickly released into the blood promote overeating, obesity, insulin resistance, and other metabolic disturbances contributing to disease. Nutritional Chromium is a carbohydrate stabilizer but many do not get enough from foods. Fortunately, most multiple vitamins may include Chromium as an essential mineral. The big surprise is that Cinnamon (sticks or powder), a spice found in most grocery supermarkets, is also effective with metabolizing carbohydrates.

A review of studies cite varied evidence that cinnamon may play a role with certain forms of sugar metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes.

Ironically, cinnamon offers about 8 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon serving. Somehow, though, it is an effective method to control carbohydrates.

Cinnamon is a common spice, often used in baking, cereal. coffee, and other foods as a flavoring. It has a semi-sweet taste. Taking a cinnamon supplement can help speed up the metabolism of carbohydrates and moderate your craving for more throughout the day. Cinnamon (according to nutrition belief) may be beneficial for stabilizing your blood sugar; also helpful with suppressing fatigue by giving you energy. Cinnamon increases the stabilizing effect of insulin while reducing insulin resistance. It does this by:

1) Activating the enzymes to stimulate insulin receptors.

2) Helps with blood sugar is by enhancing the effects of insulin-signaling pathways in your skeletal muscle tissue.

3) Cinnamon contains natural flavonoids antioxidants which enhance insulin sensitivity. This makes more of your blood glucose enter the cells where it belongs; helping your levels to stabilize which in turn stops inflammation and ends your carbohydrate cravings.

Use of Chromium also aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates. According to research, chromium studies cite evidence that it may even be beneficial in controlling type-2 diabetes that is becoming more common in the USA.

Key functions of chromium:
1) Helps insulin facilitate the entrance of glucose into your cells and is a requirement for energy.

2) May influence cholesterol levels by improving its metabolism.

3) Is crucial to blood sugar and cholesterol metabolism and has become popular in weight loss programs. You can use chromium to support glucose metabolism if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

As an alternative approach to dealing with hyperglycemia and e3levated cholesterol issues, chromium picolinate and GTF chromium may play supportive roles in treatment of certain diabetes cases. If you are diabetic, and you are concerned with chronic use of traditional medications, you are advised to consult with your doctor or a certified nutritionist before following a chromium regimen that may require higher doses. Supplemental chromium may definitively aid those who want to control carbohydrates on a routine basis.

There are several types of chromium supplements available, such as chromium chloride, chromium polynicotinate (GTF Chromium) and chromium picolinate. Chromium picolinate is remarkably stable and remains intact for several hours in synthetic gastric juice. The comparative data results of chromium picolinate versus other forms of chromium demonstrated that it is the most effective form to facilitate glucose control. It was also observed that chromium picolinate is better absorbed physiologically (2.5%) than chromium chloride (0.5-1%) and chromium acetate (0.8%); chromium oxide is not absorbed at all (0.001%). Effective doses seem to be in the range of 200 to 600 micrograms (0.2 to 0.6 mg) but, again, please consult your physician or certified nutritionist prior to beginning a routine supplement regimen.

Cinnamon, or rather one of the constituents of cinnamon, has been shown to be helpful at controlling the onset of Alzheimer Disease, a rising neuro-cognitive condition. Most of these cinnamon Alzheimer studies are in the animal phase.

Controlled doses of cinnamon has been shown to have some positive effect on menstrual cycles among some women suffering with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). So…in addition to cinnamon’s ways to control carbohydrates, it is seen as a possible wonder drug in other diseases and conditions. It’s possible that early alchemists used cinnamon medicinally.

Cinnamon has been used as a flavor enhancing spice for thousands of years. People sprinkle cinnamon in coffee, tea, and cereals. Cinnamon is found in cookies and cakes. The amounts of cinnamon used in recipes are generally small. No negative side effects were ever reported. Therapeutic doses of cinnamon are much higher. These higher doses of cinnamon in capsule form have not really been tested for effects by scientific scrutiny.

One of the flavonoids found in cinnamon is Coumarin. High doses of Coumarin have been shown to negatively effect the liver with chronic use. Many sources of cinnamon have low levels of Coumarin but one form, Cassia cinnamon, has higher levels. It’s important to find the source of the cinnamon when used for therapy.

Subsequently, a recent study in Finland has provided evidence that Coumarin has possible anti-inflammatory effects when used as an ingredient. Consequently, the anti-coagulant properties of Coumarin are used in blood-thinning drugs that can have serious side effects. Taking huge doses of Cassia cinnamon may be beneficial in some ways and dangerous in others. So when you want to control carbohydrates in your diet, it is very advisable to discuss capsule dosages with a certified nutritionist.

Among exercisers, Chromium is the essential element that helps promote endurance and is included in relatively high doses in performance supplements. Chromium is believed to control carbohydrates by aiding protein to build muscle mass, though there is little scientific support for Chromium as an ergogenic. At best, Chromium might help regulate the carbohydrate stream to muscles, allowing for a stream of continued energy through a workout.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Chromium is a major and essential aspect to control carbohydrates in the metabolism of sugar. He also believes that Chromium may help raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and improve heart health. He estimates that up to 50% of people in the United States may be deficient in Chromium and can account to higher development of diabetes and certain metabolic syndromes that people complain about. Chromium is found in small quantities in foods such as brewer’s yeast, calf liver, whole grains, processed meats and cheese. Supplementation is recommended.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “As many as 90% of American diets are low in chromium, but it’s rare to be truly deficient in chromium. The elderly, people who do a lot of strenuous exercise, those who eat a lot of sugary foods, and pregnant women are most likely to be deficient in chromium. Low chromium levels can increase blood sugar, triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), cholesterol levels, and increase the risk for a number of conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.” As a possible side effect, overdosing on Chromium may There are some reports that chromium may make depression and anxiety or schizophrenia worse, although other reports suggest it helps depression. As with all supplements in the United States, further research is necessary.

Dietary intakes of chromium cannot be reliably determined because the content of the mineral in foods is substantially affected by agricultural and manufacturing processes. Based on supplement absorption through capsules, the general opinion is that 200 micrograms of Chromium per day is considered safe for most non-diabetic people.

WebMD indicates “that taking excessive chromium supplements can lead to stomach problems and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much chromium from supplements can also damage the liver, kidneys, and nerves, and it may cause irregular heart rhythm. But side effects from taking chromium supplements are rare.” Antacids inhibit Chromium absorption.

Cinnamon and Chromium help control carbohydrates. When used responsibly, they may provide many health promoting results. Keep in mind that high-dosing either of these in lieu of following a responsible, balanced diet will confound your dietary goals and ambitions. Research is expanding on Chromium and Cinnamon and their association with controlling and treating other diseases. Common and inexpensive, these two supplements may be perfect for the low-to-moderate carb addicts that comprise most people in the USA. Because cinnamon is a common food additive, adding and using it in healthy recipes may help curb that addiction.