By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer
Many health plans these days advocate cutting out carbohydrates or at least opting for complex carb options. Simply put, foods high in refined sugars and starches (typically junk food) tend to land at the top of the glycemic index. That means that they can have a big impact on blood glucose levels, which are associated with hunger and weight gain. Aim for a diet that features low-carb and complex carbohydrate options, which will help stabilize your blood glucose levels and help to zap those pesky food cravings. Also, low carbohydrate diets have been shown to stimulate growth of new mitochondria, the important powerhouses of your cells.
- Expert Advice – Before making any drastic dietary changes check in with a doctor or nutritionist who can ascertain if all your personal health needs are being met. These professionals can also act as your diet sleuths; identifying major sources of refined carbohydrates in your diet and advising you on how to cut back.
- Get the Facts Jack – Get acquainted with written resources such as glycemic index charts: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemicindex.htm to help cut down on high-carb foods.
- Menu Planning – Concentrate on lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies and whole grain foods. For entrees start with a lean protein – say chicken, fish, eggs, lower-fat dairy – and combine with sides of veggies or fruits.
- Natural and Wholesome – Cut back on unhealthy carbs such as baked goods, candy, and fruit juices. Also, shy away from starchy foods like corn, crackers and white pastas.
- Don’t Torture Yourself – Don’t go crazy – if you cut carbs completely, you might feel depleted and cranky. Remember not all carbs are bad for us. The complex forms in vegetables, whole grains, and fruit are important to eat.