Carbohydrates- They Aren’t The Bad Guys

Carbohydrates seem to have a rather bad reputation these days, however carbohydrates play a key role in our body! Here is a list of 5 reasons you shouldn’t be hating on Carbohydrates:

  1. Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  2. All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose, which comes from carbohydrates for energy.
  3. Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  4. Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  5. Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.  Carbohydrates also include fiber which is essential in getting rid of waste in our bodies.  Fiber is any carbohydrate that our body can’t digest.   There are two types of fibers: soluble fiber which is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barely, and psyllium while insoluble fiber can be found in nuts, beans, vegetables, and whole-grains.  Both offer many amazing benefits such as lowering blood cholesterol levels and glucose levels and help those that struggle with constipation.

Overall carbohydrates are very important in a healthy diet, but not all carbohydrates are the same, stay away from highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, cookies, soft drinks, etc..  These items are what people tend to think of when we mention  carbs, that is why I think carbohydrates have this negative reputation, however there are many good carbs out there.  Carbohydrates aren’t the bad guys, processed foods are.



The Basics Behind “Counting Calories”

We count calories everyday, but do we actually know where our calories are coming from?  Calories come from Macro-nutrients, which are substances that provide us with energy and are needed for growth, metabolism, and other body functions.  There are three types of Macro-nutrients including carbohydrates, fat, and proteins.

  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
    • If the nutrition label of a product says you have 10 grams of carbs you would take that number and multiply it by 4 to get the amount of calories that comes from carbs, which in this case would be 40
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram
    • If the nutrition label of a product says you have 3 grams of fat you would take the 3 grams and multiple it by 9 ending up with 27 calories from fat
  • Proteins provide 4 calories per gram
    • If the nutrition label of a product says you have 6 grams of protein you could then take the 6 grams and multiple it by 4 and find that it has 24 calories from protein

Your calorie intake should consist of 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% fat, and 10-35% protein.  The only other source of calories comes from alcohol which provides you with 7 calories per gram, however it is not considered a Macro-nutrient since it isn’t needed for survival, however some people may disagree with that statement. Cheers!

How to Avoid GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not naturally found there.  GMOs were suppose to be an answer to world hunger by allowing for an increase in crop yield, however GMOs haven’t fulfilled their promises, but instead has lead to many adverse effects such as an increase in potential toxins, allergens, carcinogens, new diseases, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems. The FDA does not require companies to label whether or not their products contain GMOs making it hard for the consumers to feel confident about what they are buying.  Here is a list of 4 simple ways to become a more confident consumer:

  1. Avoid foods that contain corn or soybeans.corn soybeans1
    • Corn and soybeans are two of the most genetically modified crops in the United States.  Many of our products we consume have a form of corn or soybean in it so being aware of what foods you are eating that contain these ingredients could help you limit the amount of genetically modified foods you are consuming.
  2. Look at the labeling codes for fruits and vegetables.PLU.jpg
    •   If it is a four digit code the food was conventionally produced and could be non GMO or not.  If the first number in the code is a 9 then it is organic and has a high chance of being non GMO. If it has a 5 digit code starting with an 8 it means it is genetically modified.  Sadly this coding is also voluntary, but can be helpful in search for organic.
  3. Use a food app or Website.non-gmo-project-logo.jpg
    • The Non-GMO project has a list of verified products that are Non-GMO.  It is a great source to become more educated on different products.
  4. Shop locally.

    • This allows you to know exactly where your food is coming from and how it is grown. Also it is great for families with children because you raise your kids to become more aware of where their food comes from.

Since GMOs aren’t labeled in the United States it can be hard to know what is genetically modified and what is not.  By taking a few precautions you can limit your intake of GMOs. Your body and mind will thank you.