I'm not sure I'm getting enough carbs 'cuz I eat very little grains or beans and I am always worried of overdoing fruit.
Well, rest assured that if you are consuming enough calories with your diet, and not exclusively eating fats and proteins, you are most likely getting enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates exist in just about anything you can eat. By simply eating enough food during the day, you can easily meet your body's carbohydrate requirements.
There are two classifications of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Grains and beans fall under the complex category, while fruits fall under the simple category.
The most important difference you need to be concerned about when it comes to carbohydrates, however, is between refined and whole (or natural). A refined carboyhdrate has been processed in one way or another, mostly to remove the the high fiber from the food.
Foods that are considered refined are white flour products, white rice, processed and packaged cereals and snacks, etc.Refined carbohydrates, because they lack adequate fiber, are quickly broken down and rapidly create a rise in blood sugar levels.Natural (or whole) carbohydrates, on the other hand, have not been stripped of their essential fiber and therefore do not as easily cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.
When it comes to overdoing carbohydrates, one of the main issues would be for individuals who have any kind of insulin issues going on. In that case, you'd want to be careful to not overload the body with simple carbohydrates (which include most sweet fruits). For more information on this, please view a previous post we shared about fruit consumption, insulin resistance, and PCOS.
Eating large quantities of vegetables, however, rarely causes a problem even though they are excellent sources of carbohydrates. The only vegetables that may be an exception are the sweeter vegetables (such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes).
The percentage of carbohydrate needs in the body, in relation to the percentages of protein and fats, varies for each individual. It is important to experiment with your diet to get to a balance that feels best for your own needs. One diet can not work for every individual. Even one diet that works great for somone may not always work well for that same individual. Over time we need to realize that our body's needs change and we must continually try to meet those changing needs.
Tracking your protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake is not something we recommend for everyone. It can be confusing at times, frustrating, and time-consuming. However, for anyone who's overly concerned about such things, or who wants to take a more scientific approach to diet, go ahead and use a program that helps you keep track of the nutritional content and balance of your diet. The free program we recommend the most is Cron-o-meter.
How many of you are concerned about your carbohydrate intake? How many of you never monitor your intake of carbs, fats, or protein? Comment now to let us know what you have found to be important for your own diet.
Photo Credit: Photo by Travelin Librarian (Flickr, Creative Commons)