Posted by Nicole on February 5, 2014
and Mood, Part One: Carbohydrates
aren't the dirty word that they used to be. During the early-to-mid
2000's, carbs were seen as the primary cause of weight gain in the
Western diet, and there may be some truth to that. While carbs were
responsible, the main culprit is, and always has been, the amount of
processed food that we eat in the West. Culprits such as white bread
and white rice are stripped of the vital germs and nutrients that
made these foods a staple in the human diet to begin with. The
process is so diminishing that you may have noticed that many on the
shelf are “vitamin enriched” or otherwise enhanced to try and
replace what's been lost in the bleaching process that gives them
their stark white color.
all carbs are evil, however. In fact, carbs are responsible for much
of the satisfaction that we feel when we eat them, and it goes much
deeper than satisfying your sweet tooth or filling your stomach with
a loaf of fresh baked bread. There are chemicals involved, and here's
how it works.
We Love Our Carbs
when added to your diet, help to boost the amount of trytophan that
are in your bloodstream. Tryptophan creates more serotonin in the
brain, which in turn helps you to regulate your mood. While this may
sound like a winning formula, it can lead to what's common referred
to as “comfort foods”, such as a warm plate of macaroni and
cheese, mashed potatoes, and even ice cream. All are high in
carbohydrates, and as a result, do actually help you to stabilize
your mood. They also expand your waistline.
the extreme opposite end of the spectrum is the low-to-no carb diet.
If you've ever done that diet yourself, or know someone who has, you
know that there's a certain mood swing that comes along with any
potential weight loss. This is more than just sour grapes over the
loss of beloved breads; carbohydrates are actually one of the most
efficient enables for trytophan, clearing the path for this chemical
to get into your blood, and then your brain from there.
Up Your Carbs
smart option is to eat carbs that come from natural sources, such as
fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also as important, these foods
contain valuable fiber and natural minerals and vitamins which can be
more readily metabolized by the body than your average multivitamin
supplement. This is why most vitamin supplements actually recommend
that they be taken with food; they can bond to the vitamins and
minerals already present in that food, and thus be more effective.
options present both sensible carbohydrate intake and a great source
of protein. Beans and rice, for example, is a dish that's been
enjoyed all over the world for thousands of years. The two mix well
together to form a nourishing protein, all while providing the
carbohydrates that make serotonin production flow smoothly. Smart
and sensible carb management can help you to lose weight and feel
better, as long as you remember that moderation matters.