Many people believe one of the best ways to shed weight is to eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. But carbs are not all bad. In fact, plenty of healthy foods like fruits and beans contain carbohydrates.
While cutting carbs from your diet can help you lose pounds, you should think twice before you go completely carb free. Eliminating all carbohydrates from your diet could jeopardize your health.
Simple Vs. Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are often confused with simple carbs, the two are fairly different.
Foods like pastries, cookies, bagels, rolls, breads and pretzels contain simple carbohydrates. These carbs do nothing for your body but provide short-term energy. Cutting them out from your diet is safe, as they don't provide much nutritional benefit.
On the other hand, you shouldn't cut out all complex carbohydrates. These are the “good” carbohydrates, so to speak. Found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, complex carbohydrates help maintain weight and also protect against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Examples of foods with complex carbohydrates include broccoli, quinoa, apples and kidney beans.
Side Effects Of A No-Carb Diet
Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient that the body requires in substantial amounts. If you cut all carbohydrates out of your body, you could become malnourished. According to the McKinley Health Center, the body requires more carbohydrates than any other type of macronutrient.
If you drastically reduce your carb intake or completely cut them out, you'll probably feel fatigued. You'll also crave carb-filled foods, especially foods with simple carbohydrates like cookies or french fries. You could also experience headaches, irritability, hot flashes and some dizziness.
The most dangerous consequence of not getting enough carbs is low blood glucose. Carbs are rapidly converted into glucose, the body's natural source of energy. The carbs that aren't used for glucose are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If you don't eat enough complex carbs, you could deplete your body of its glycogen stores. This causes low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, a serious condition that can result in debilitating problems and even death.
Carbs are also essential for regular bowel movements and healthy digestion. Fiber is critical to keeping your excretory system operating efficiently. It also helps clean your body of toxins, preventing other health problems.
Experiment With Carbohydrate Intake
The amount of carbs your body needs is different from that of your coworkers, friends and family. This number depends on factors like activity level, age, gender, genetic disposition and weight.
If you want eat fewer carbs to lose weight, try limiting your carb consumption to 20 percent of your diet. Pay attention to how you feel. If you start to feel ill or shaky, slowly add more complex carbs into your diet.
If you want to lose weight, cutting carbs is a great way to do it. Many carb-rich foods, like white bread, muffins and chips, are high in sugar but low in nutritional value. Additionally, these simple carbs are usually heavily processed and high in calories and sodium.
That being said, not all carbs are bad for you. Complex carbs are full of fiber and necessary for keeping your body running smoothly.
So feel free to drop the donuts, but you may want to think twice about cutting carbs altogether. Otherwise, you may cause your body more harm than good.
*Always consult with your physician before starting any dietary or weight loss plan. This information is for general use and is not intended to replace the advice and direction of licensed medical professionals.
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As someone who lives in the Texas Panhandle, you know how hot it can get during the summer — especially in Palo Duro Canyon. Temperatures during the hottest months average around 90 degrees, and at times the heat can seem relentless.
It can also cause serious health issues — such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke — if you're not careful. Staying hydrated is a big part of staying healthy out in the heat.
Follow these steps to prevent heat stroke and other illnesses when you're out hiking in the sun.
1. Drink Before You're Thirsty
It's important to drink fluids even when you're not thirsty. When you do feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it's approaching dehydration. Replenish your fluids frequently rather than drinking simply to quench your thirst.
2. Water Is Best
While advertisements for sports drinks and other beverages may claim that they're the best way to stay hydrated, in the majority of cases, you're better off sticking with water.
Sports drinks provide certain electrolytes that are helpful for high-intensity training, but they usually contain high amounts of sugars (and calories) that you otherwise don't need.
The amount of water you should drink may vary depending on your age, weight, gender and activity level. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
3. Drink Cool Fluids
There's nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot day, but experts advise drinking cool water because the body absorbs it faster than it does cold water. Cool fluids will also encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather.
4. Keep A Water Bottle
At Your SideA reusable water bottle is a great investment. You should always keep one nearby. You can easily replenish it during the day, and having a water bottle on hand allows you to drink fluids regularly whether you're doing strenuous activity or not.
5. Eat The Right Foods
Drinking water is the easiest and fastest way to hydrate, but eating foods that have a high water content can also ward off dehydration. Foods with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and celery.
Loose clothing that allows your sweat to evaporate and absorbs less heat will keep you from becoming overheated and dehydrated. If you're exercising outdoors, you should always wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Few things sound better than a cold beer or other alcoholic beverage during a summer heat wave. But if hydration is your goal, alcohol isn't your friend. It acts as a diuretic and causes you to urinate more frequently — which leads to dehydration.
8. Watch The Clock
There's nothing wrong with exercising outside during the summer — as long as you do it during the appropriate time of day. Plan your workout for early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn't bearing down on you.
Get into shape this summer. Download my summer slim-down workout package.
If you're like a lot of health-conscious people, your daily diet includes a smoothie that's packed with nutrients to help keep your body running efficiently.
But not every smoothie is created equal. The fact is, smoothies may contribute to your weight gain if you're not careful about what ingredients you add to it (or leave out).
Here are eight ways that your smoothie may cause you to gain weight:
1. It's Too Big
Too much of a good thing is often unhealthy, and smoothies are no exception. Even a smoothie that's packed with healthy ingredients will add up to extra calories, carbs and sugar if you make it too big. Experts say that a smoothie should be no more than 8 to 10 ounces.
2. It Lacks Fiber
Fiber helps keep your hunger at bay and improves digestion. Make sure that your smoothie includes foods with high fiber content, such as avocado and kale.
3. It's Too High In Sugar
Buyer beware: many store-bought smoothies include almost as much sugar as soda. That much sugar isn't good for you no matter how many other health benefits the smoothie might include.
Your homemade smoothie should contain more vegetables than fruits, including sweet veggies such as carrots to replace berries that have a higher sugar content.
Too much sugar also leaves you feeling tired and hungry, which can make you eat even more.
4. There Isn't Enough Protein
Studies show that protein reduces your daily calorie intake while helping your body burn fat. Many smoothies are loaded with only carbohydrates and fats, so it's important to add high-protein foods such as plain Greek yogurt, beans, cottage cheese and nuts.
You should aim to add at least 10 grams of protein to your smoothie. It will help you sustain your energy while preventing you from indulging in high-calorie snacks.
But don't add excess protein powder to your smoothie. Many protein powders have artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients.
5. You've Added Sweeteners
Adding sweeteners like honey to your smoothie enhances the flavor, but take care not to add too much. One tablespoon of honey contains 60 calories. Instead, add sweet fruit, vegetables or Greek yogurt.
6. You Drink It At The Wrong Time Of Day
Your body processes and absorbs sugar better the more active you are, which means that your sugar levels won't spike as much and leave you tired and hungry hours later. That said, the best time for your smoothie is after your workout or another part of the day when you're physically active.
7. It's High Calorie
Even low-calories foods like fruits and vegetables can add up if you're not careful. But also beware of smoothies that include calorie-rich ingredients like nut butter and coconut oil. A good way to monitor your smoothie's calories is to measure out your ingredients and plug them into a calorie counter.
8. It's Always Made With The Same Ingredients
Using the same greens in your smoothie prevents you from getting a wide variety of nutrients. Replace and add a variety of greens every week to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need.
Want to eat healthier and lose weight? Check out my other blog posts on nutrition.
If you usually shop at grocery stores for your fruits and vegetables, you have probably grown tired of buying the same items over and over again. It is time to try something new.
Head out to a local farmers market and you'll find all sorts of tasty fruits and vegetables, many of which you can't find at nearby grocery stores.
The Best Foods To Buy At Farmers Markets
Farmers' markets specialize in fresh and delicious produce. The primary advantage of shopping at these markets is that they provide access to fruits and vegetables that were recently harvested at nearby farms. In some instances, farmers bring items from the farm to the market on the day they are sold. It doesn't get any fresher or healthier than that.
In terms of specific foods you will find at farmers markets, be on the lookout for bell peppers, onions, zucchini, green beans, okra, bread and jellies. Each farmer brings something unique and tasty to the table. You will likely find fruits and vegetables of different sizes, shapes and prices compared to those sold at traditional grocery stores.
So be adventurous! Give some new items a chance. Whether it is an organic version of your favorite fruit or an item you have never tried before, you just might find that it pleases your palate.
Farmers Markets In The Amarillo Area
Amarillo and Canyon have several regular farmers markets for you to give a try. Head on out to the Golden Spread Farmers Market at 15th and Pecos in the Sunset Center Parking Lot to find a variety of produce. The produce is picked within one or two days of reaching the tables for sale. The market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until items are sold out.
Located at 130 S. Grand St., Harold's Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week but for Sunday. It's smaller than Golden Spread but is usually less crowded.
The Amarillo Community Market at 1000 S. Polk St. features over 150 local vendors. They feature an assortment of vegetables, herbs, jams, jellies, baked goods, cut flowers and even some arts and crafts. The market is open from June 10th through October 14th. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Canyon Farmers Market is a mere 20-minute drive from the heart of Amarillo. This market is the largest in town, featuring over 40 vendors. Additionally, Amarillo's Zinnia bakery sales some of their gluten-free goods at the market. Located at the south side of the square in Canyon, the market is open every Saturday between 8 a.m. and Noon. It runs until October 8.
Ready To Eat Healthy This Summer?
Lose weight and feel better this summer by simply changing up your diet. What you eat has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. Eating raw, organic veggies is a great place to start.
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