Exactly Why Processed Food Carbs Can Be Harmful To Your Health

For many decades, junk science has created one of the worst fads in history: the diet devoid of fat. Ironically, this diet has resulted in heart disease and other complications related to obesity. Gary Taubes wrote two articles explaining why this phenomenon occurs. The first was showcased in Science Magazine in the year 1999. The second premiered in the summer of 2002, in another famous publication. In both of these articles, Taubes explained that fat is not the culprit; in fact, the real culprit is excess carbohydrates. To be more specific, processed carbs can be especially harmful to your health.


Processed carbs can be directly linked to increasing glucose levels within the body. This results in a myriad of consequences, ranging from weight gain to cancer. Dietary fat is irrelevant and is actually something the body needs (provided that you consume Omega 3s and polyunsaturated fats).?? Trans fat is the fat that we want to avoid in a healthy diet, but even that does not equate to the harm caused by carbohydrates.


A plethora of books have been written to explain why excessive carb consumption is bad. Chief among supporters of the no-carb diets is the Atkins Diet. While it remains the most well-known of the no-carb legions, there are several others. The common thread that most no-carb diets share, is the belief that low-fat diets are undesirable. Many studies have already shown direct correlations between low-fat diets and hyperinsulinemia – where glucose levels are abnormally high. This throws off your body’s natural homeostasis, and can lead to the need for alternate, less efficient means of energy production. Hyperinsulinemia also causes the body to go through glycosylation – a process that puts one at risk for Alzheimers and other degenerative diseases.


Fortunately, hyperinsulinemia can be avoided by limiting your processed carbohydrate consumption and adhering to consumption patterns that resemble a glycemic index diet. With this diet, you eat foods that will keep your blood sugar at normal levels. As such, your energy level will remain constant, which helps balance your insulin regulators.


According to this diet, foods that have a high glycemic index are considered detrimental. By the same token, foods with a low glycemic index are considered beneficial. The Crossfit Journal offers a list of foods that fall under both categories. In addition to these extremes, there are also “hybrid” foods that lie in the middle of the glycemic index scale. Whole grains and brown rice are a few examples of hybrid carbohydrates, that consumed in moderation, can prove to be beneficial.


Keep in mind that getting off of carbs may not be the easiest thing to do. You will not only feel tired, but you may also suffer with nausea. A bran muffin, or a small bowl of whole grain pasta could be enough to curb these cravings until your next meal. Yes, these choices do not beat a piece of fruit, but they are still better than eating something sugary.


Good food usually includes lean meats, veggies and fruits. The bad foods consist of almost anything processed. Sometimes you might find a few exceptions, but that is not the general rule. Foods that have a high glycemic index tend to be sweet and/or starchy. Basically, if it comes in a box, it is a food you should not consume in large quantities.


The same principle also applies to foods that have a long shelf life. Foods with a high glycemic index tend to last several months – sometimes even years. Conversely, foods with a lower glycemic index last less than a week, as they tend to be fresh perishables. True, this might seem like an oversimplification, but these guidelines will help get you started on a healthy glycemic diet void of processed carbs. Combined with your intense fitness regimen, you’ll be well on your way to looking and feeling your best.


Why You Should Avoid Trans Fats

This is likely not the first time you have been told to avoid trans fats, as it is one of the worst fats you can consume. The higher the trans fat content you eat, the higher your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. The Mayo Clinic states that trans fat can raise both your LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. If you raise the LDL too much, you are at great risk for heart disease. Here are some things to know about trans fats and why you should avoid them.


About Trans Fats

Trans fats are added to a wide range of foods, mostly those that are not healthy or good for you. It is made in a process called hydrogenation by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. It is done because it helps the oil spoil a lot slower. Therefore, it is most often used in packaged and processed foods, as it helps to increase the shelf life of these foods, yet they don’t feel as greasy. Just by adding the hydrogen to oil increases the cholesterol in the body. Foods with the highest amount of trans fats include baked goods like cookies and cakes, and fried foods, such as French fries and donuts. There are also other fats used in cooking or baking that contain trans fats, like margarine and shortening. Luckily, manufacturers have become aware of the health concerns with trans fats and are starting to use less and less of it in their foods.


Read Your Food Labels

In order to determine what foods contain a lot of trans fats, you should learn to read labels. On the front or back of the label, look for “partially hydrogenated oil.” This means hydrogen has been added to vegetable oil, which then converts it into trans fats. This may be on the front of the label or in the ingredients list. When a food does not contain trans fats, it is usually made obvious on the label to encourage healthy shoppers to purchase their food item. On the other hand, the label “complete hydrogenated oil” or “fully hydrogenated oil” does not have trans fats. There may be some trans fats in dairy or meat products, but it isn’t as dangerous as processed foods or baked goods.


Dangers of Trans Fats

According to the American Heart Association, having a high LDL cholesterol level is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Consuming a lot of trans fats can then convert to a high amount of the bad type of cholesterol. The high LDL levels lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries, which then stop blood from flowing properly to your arteries. Another harmful effect of trans fats is increasing triglycerides, which is a fat in your blood. This can also cause your arteries to harden. Other dangers of trans fats include leading to inflammation of your blood vessels and fatty deposits of these blood vessels.


Food Recommendations

Aside from reading the labels and avoiding trans fats, it’s easy to choose proper and healthy food options that don’t contain a lot of this dangerous type of fat. Some oils that are healthy and found in foods as an alternative to trans fats include palm, palm kernel and coconut oil. While these are better than trans fats, they still contain saturated fat, so you should eat these foods in small amounts. The healthiest option is monounsaturated fat, such as what you find in canola, peanut and olive oil. This includes fish, nuts and other foods with omega-3 fatty acids.

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