Examples of Carbohydrates

...and how they affect weight loss!

Here are some examples of carbohydrates and an explanation of the effects they have in your body. We will also cover high carbohydrate low fat diets and the impact they have as well as answering the questions: How do low carbohydrate diets work?

The carbohydrates in food have a massive impact on our ability to lose weight and there seems to be so much misinformation surrounding this macronutrient.

Making changes to your eating habits is the most important lifestyle modification that is required when you want to lose weight. However, it is not the only area where changes should be made. Exercise habits and the use of certain supplements should also be considered.

Examples Of Carbohydrates

Nevertheless, food is generally where most people are willing to make changes. As a result, they tend to try and find the diet that will help them shed as much weight as possible as quickly as possible.

The problem is though, there are so many different diets on the market that it makes it confusing about what someone should eat and what they should avoid, especially if they want to lose weight and get in shape! Nowhere is this more obvious as it is in the area of carbohydrate consumption. Many people wonder if they should eat high carbs, low carbs, high GI, low GI, what carbs should they avoid, what carbs should they have more of; the questions are endless!

Here are some examples of carbohydrates:

Bread, pasta, rice, cereals, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, table sugar, fruits, vegetables, juices, most dairy products, honey, jams, sauces, beans, grains, ice cream and even cracker breads!

These examples of carbohydrates indicate that there are so many foods that contain carbohydrates and knowing what impact the different examples of carbohydrates have on our body is imperative if the best weight loss results are desired.

Examples of Carbohydrates

When it comes to carbohydrate consumption there are two main schools of thought. There are the conventional dieticians and nutritionists who have been touting the virtues of a high-carb, low-fat diet for years simply because they have been brain-washed by what they were taught at university and never questioned anything! A good example of this belief system is the promotion of The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. It is remarkably similar to the USDA's out-dated Food Pyramid.

These food guidelines provide various examples of carbohydrates and recommend the refined, high-density sources as the main component of our diet. Examples of these carbohydrates include: pasta, cereals, rice, and bread. It is interesting to note that they recommend these types of foods above nature's own fruits and vegetables! It is as if to say that the food manufacturers know better than Mother Nature!

The out-dated Food Pyramid recommended that in order to have a 'healthy diet' we should eat 6-11 serves a day of these refined, highly concentrated sources of carbohydrates. Oftentimes they would say, 'It's not the carbohydrate that makes us fat, but what we put on them', i.e. cream with pasta or butter/ margarine on bread.

How do low carbohydrate diets work?

At the opposite end of the carbohydrate spectrum there are the low-carb diet advocates. Low-carb diets have been around for around 150 years and they still remain popular today, especially since many Hollywood celebrities attest to using low-carb diets to achieve their impressive-looking bodies.

Accordingly, there are now an unlimited amount of low-carb products on the market and serious users of this nutritional approach make every effort to avoid carbohydrate foods as if they were evil!

The difference in opinions between the high-carb and low-carb advocates leaves most people confused about what they should eat in order to lose weight.

In this article we will examine carbohydrates in more detail, look at the advantages and disadvantages of each nutritional approach so you can determine how you need to eat in order to achieve your own physical goals.

Insulin and glucagon

In order to understand the impact carbohydrates in food have on our body, we firstly need to understand the functions of the two major hormones that control their storage and mobilisation. They are insulin and glucagon. Their primary function is to regulate blood sugar.


After a meal our blood sugar level rises. This then stimulates the pancreas to release insulin into the blood stream. Insulin then shuttles the glucose into the body cells, which brings the blood sugar back down again. If the blood sugar falls too much then the pancreas will detect that and release glucagon into the blood stream. Glucagon has the opposing effect to insulin, whereby it goes to the liver and stimulates the liver to release glucose into the blood stream from its glycogen (storage carbohydrate) stores. The muscle stores of glycogen don't get affected by glucagon.

If your goal is to maximise the fat-burning effects in your body then your goal should be to keep insulin as low as possible. This may be done by keeping your blood sugar level fairly stable (or low). Of course, low-carb diets work because they keep the blood sugar level low and therefore insulin low as well.

Here are the effects insulin has in your body:

  • Stores nutrients in cells.
  • Stores fat in adipocytes (fat cells).
  • Promotes the uptake of glucose from the blood stream into the fat cells as well as its conversion into fat.
  • Promotes the activity of fat-manufacturing and fat-storing enzymes.
  • Stop fat mobilisation and fat burning.

The amount of insulin released from the pancreas depends on two factors:

  • The size of the meal.
  • The amount of sugar released into the blood stream from a meal.

Therefore, if you want to limit the amount of insulin being released, and therefore maximise your body's fat-burning potential then you should do the following:

  • Reduce the size of your meals.
  • Reduce the carbohydrate portion of your meals.
  • Emphasise low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates.
  • Emphasise low-density carbohydrates.
  • Ensure all of your meals are 'complete meals'.

Reduce the size of your meals

Since the amount of insulin released is in proportion to the size of your meals, emphasising smaller meals ensure a reduced insulin secretion.

Reduce the carbohydrate portion of your meals

Since insulin is also released depending on the amount of sugar in the blood stream, it is important to reduce your carbohydrate portion size. However, this doesn't mean you should follow a low-carb diet. Even though that is why they are effective there are a range of problems associated with following a low-carb diet long term.

Here's why you shouldn't follow a low-carb diet:

  • Low-carb diets are not sustainable long term.
  • Low-carb diets may cause nutritional deficiencies due to the avoidance of certain carbohydrates, particularly fruits and vegetables.
  • Low-carb diets may have a negative impact on the way your body function, especially since some of them recommend a low fibre intake and a too greater emphasis on foods containing high levels of saturated fats.

Therefore, whilst low-carb diets may be effective (and are definitely suitable for some people, especially people with insulin resistance), they are not necessary to follow if you simply want to lose weight.

Emphasise low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates

High GI foods tend to cause a rapid rise in blood sugar (if eaten on their own), whilst low GI foods cause a slow release of glucose into the blood stream. Therefore, in order to maintain a stable blood sugar level it simply makes sense to emphasise more low GI foods in your diet. However, if you happen to have some high GI foods it is okay if you simply ensure you have a 'complete meal' (covered soon).

Emphasise low-density carbohydrates

Low-density carbohydrates contain very little carbs per serve whilst high-density carbs on the other hand contain a lot. For example, 100g of broccoli contains 0.5 grams of carbs whilst 100g of pasta contains 76.5 grams of carbs.

Obviously a food with more carbohydrates per serve is likely to cause a greater increase in blood sugar compared to a food with less carbs per serve.

Ensure all of your meals are 'complete meals'

A 'complete meal' is one that contains a portion of all 3 macronutrients; carbohydrate (and fibre), protein, and fat. Fibre, protein and fat all have the effect of slowing down the release of glucose into the blood stream, which means the blood sugar level remains stable and insulin can stay low. This ensures maximum fat burning.

From the information presented here it should now be obvious that following the Food Pyramid or the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are definitely not the best ways to go if you want to maximise your weight loss.

Overall, if you want to lose weight then here is how you should consume carbohydrates in your diet:

  • Have smaller meals.
  • Cut down your carbohydrate portions (without cutting them out altogether).
  • Only have 'complete meals'.
  • Have a slow influx of glucose into the blood stream by having more low-density and low GI carbohydrates.

By making an effort to eat the examples of carbohydrates as suggested, you will be able to lose weight and achieve your physical goals in virtually no time at all! Go for it!

Also, if you would like precise information about calories, fat, and carbohydrate amounts in foods, then please read The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2018

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