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To carb or not to carb, that is the question ...

Jennifer Roe

There is so much conflicting information out there to decipher in regards to the realm of carbohydrates. There is research that emphasizes how putting certain carbohydrates into your body can lead to issues in your brain, issues in your gut and issues to your overall health.

Some relate the leading health afflictions in our country such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and obesity to the overconsumption of certain carbohydrates.

On the flip side, carbohydrates are what help to fuel your body’s main source of energy and there are a multitude of benefits when we consume them. To name a few, they help fuel our brain, kidneys, red blood cells, heart muscles and central nervous system; and when we are physically active, they help us to restore our energy levels.

There is so much more to the carbohydrate dilemma than simply whether or not to eat them. There are other factors to consider such as the type and quality of the carbohydrate we are consuming; how our body reacts to that carbohydrate; what our health status is; as well as how active versus how sedentary our lifestyle is.

Let’s start with the type of carbohydrates we are consuming and how they affect our body. First off, we are bio-individual, which basically means what works for one of us, is not going to work for all of us. Our body composition and how we metabolize things is going to be different from one person to the next.

Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains can be amazingly beneficial as they are whole foods. They are loaded with nutrients, fiber and other beneficial vitamins our bodies need. However, not every fruit, vegetable, legume and whole grain are going to work for all of us. Some can spike our blood sugar (glucose levels), which over time can lead to many health issues. And for some of us, depending on where we are physically, there are certain carbohydrates we may need to eliminate completely. On the flip side, there may be certain carbohydrates we absolutely need to consume.

Processed carbohydrates such as breads made with the standard white and wheat flour, pasta and certain baked goods, to name a few, can be associated to major health conditions. Not only are most of them laden with chemicals, polyunsaturated fats and other ingredients our bodies do not know how to process, they really are nothing but sugar and can actually lead to more health issues than any other food out there!

Another thing to consider is our activity level. Carbohydrates basically provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support all sorts of bodily functions and our physical activity. However, if we are not active and are sedentary that glucose is not burned, and having high levels of blood sugar over time can lead to weight gain, poor metabolic health and an increased risk of some of the major health issues in our country.

When choosing to carb or not to carb, please choose wisely. Stick to the good stuff, the real stuff, and make sure you are moving your body. Again, we are bio-individual and as with anything, it is finding what your body’s needs are and the right balance that works for you.

Jennifer Roe is a master level Red Hat Qigong practitioner, an integrative nutritional health and wellness coach, a facilitator of women’s circles, programs and more. For more information, visit www.thehealingroe.com.