Carbohydrate Counting - Is It Really Necessary?

 


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New diet fads spring up seemingly everyday, well maybe not quite everyday, but every couple of years a new diet fad pops up that grabs everybody's attention. It doesn't matter who you are, eating a healthy diet is an essential part of your daily routine and money making diet fads don't have to be part of that.

Most diets encourage you to start carbohydrate counting; with the premise that cutting out carbohydrates will help you burn fat and build muscle. However this is not entirely correct, as not all carbohydrates are created equal. So before you start carbohydrate counting and cutting your carbs, you need learn the difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates and the easiest way to do this is with the glycemic index.

Your body requires carbohydrates to survive, to enable it to carry out its normal daily functions. So steer clear of any diet that recommends you cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely. But you should avoid bad carbohydrates which carry a high glycemic index rating and ideally you should aim to eat foods with a low glycemic index rating, foods such as pasta, green vegetables, whole grain foods and oats.

Doctors and nutritionists regularly use the glycemic index to help explain in simple terms how carbohydrates are broken down and used by the body. It is an easy to understand rating system, which uses a scale of zero to one hundred. If you are serious about burning off fat and losing weight it essential you understand the glycemic index and how foods are rated.

So how is the Glycemic Index Rating Calculated?

The ratings are calculated based on the rate of digestion of the particular food. For example foods which are digested quickly have a high rating, while foods which are digested slowing are assigned a lower rating.

This is important because foods which are digested quickly cause a spike in blood sugar levels as the sugars from the foods are absorbed into the blood stream fast. This stimulates a release of insulin causing the sugars to be stored in the body as fat. It also has implication for diabetics who can not control their blood sugars levels. In contrast foods with a lower rating cause a gradual rise and fall of blood sugar levels, which is much safer and healthier for the body and thus less sugar is stored as fat. Therefore these types of food are ideal after a workout to reload your muscles with carbohydrates before your next session.

In an ideal world it would be useful to have the glycemic index rating published on all food labels to raise awareness among the general public. However you need to take it up on yourself to do your own research. There is nothing to stop you carbohydrate counting, however don't ever cut out carbohydrates completely. With the right goals, training advice and nutrition plan you really can get the body of your dreams.

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