Freeing yourself from carb-overload is easier said than done but eating more often, drinking more water and searching for a bit of fat can all help.
If I reach for one more cracker before dinner I’m going to have a serious discussion with my hands. Carbs can be a heartless addiction. OK, so it’s not in line with hard drugs but it can take its toll.
Carbohydrates, consumed in excess, can increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by putting too great a load on your pancreas. They can also put you on the road to developing cardiovascular disease by raising the level of triglycerides in your blood stream. Bad news.
But carbs can be so darn delicious. Who doesn’t want a candy-coated cupcake pop, with chocolate icing? Or another three Oreos before ordering a caramel latte in the late afternoon?
Some of it is beyond our control. Recent studies suggest that certain foods-specifically those containing fast-digesting carbohydrates- can mess with the pleasure centers in our brain, starting an addiction.
Some scientists disagree that food can really be so potent, but it’s clear that something happens. Delicious foods like pie and cake trigger the pleasure centers in your brain and according to NPR.org, even when we don’t realize what we’re eating, fast-digesting carbs can activate the parts of your brain associated with pleasure, reward and addiction.
Here are 5 tips on breaking the carb cycle and getting a good balance back in your body:
1) Eat Often
Experts recommend eating more often in order to curb your food cravings. This doesn’t mean that you eat more food, but rather that you spread your meals out so that your blood sugar isn’t taking a nose dive into the abyss every day.
Doctoroz.com recommends eating within 30 minutes of waking up and every three hours thereafter, during the day.
Sometimes it’s a meal, sometimes just a light snack like plum or a handful of nuts. Stay away from the refined carbs and you’re cruising.
2) Drink More Water
Our stomachs aren’t as bright as we think. They can be easily tricked. If you’ve eaten a good breakfast but one hour later you start daydreaming of doughnuts, have a glass of water. The mechanism in your brain that tells you you’re getting dehydrated is pretty weak and the result is that sometimes we feel hungry, when really, a glass of water will fix things. We’re actually simply thirsty.
Try this one at any time during the day, but particularly mid-afternoon, when many people tend to overlook liquids and run a bit low.
3) Remember That Fiber is Your Friend
Fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains take longer for your body to digest. Because of this, they make you feel fuller for longer. Bananas do have sugar in them, but eating one is better for you than taking in the same amount of sweetness in chocolate bar. The fiber ensures that the sugar is released more slowly into your system, preventing the sugar high and subsequent crash.
4) Eat Some Fat
We tend to think of fat as the enemy when it comes to good eating, but this isn’t totally the case. Everyone needs some good fat in their diet, and having some via nut butter, nuts, cream or cheese will give your body the fuel it needs, resulting in you reaching for fewer Danishes.
5) Fall Off the Bandwagon Every Other Day
If you’re really trying to get serious and make some large adjustments to the way you eat, it can feel pretty militaristic. Maybe you like the army but if you find your new eating habits to be a bit constricting, try applying your new rules every other day. You’ll still see some results, but feel like you can be yourself a bit more. Just don’t turn this into a habit of binging on the bad, on your days off.
What to Eat:
Do chow down on high-fiber fruits. Think: apples, pears, berries, and oranges, just about all veggies except for potatoes (although in moderation they’re fine), whole grains, beans and legumes.
What to Avoid:
You already know it: all those processed, sugary desserts, candies, sodas and juices.
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