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I hope you’ve been following along on my new journey of regaining a healthier lifestyle with Paleo eating. If not, I have some uner good into information on getting started with Paleo and what the Benefits are as well.
So…in a nutshell, Paleo eating is the lifestyle change of shifting your diet back to the way people used to eat ( like cavemen and cavewomen, to be exact), before processed foods, sugary additives and pesticides and toxins. For several million years men and women foraged for their foods. They hunted, fished and planted. This mean ditching a lot of the modern foods that have high sugar content, lots of carbohydrates, are processed or boxed . Basically all the stuff our digestive systems are NOT built to metabolize. That being said, today’s processed carbs are a BIG reason for crappy health.
Processed Carbohydrates: What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, or carbs as they are commonly called, are a group of organic compounds that are found in foods and living tissue. This means they can be found in plants and animals as well as processed foods. They have a very important role in your body, including transporting energy through the body and are vital to cell interactions.
In the recent years carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation. Unfortunately, carbohydrates are lumped into one large pile and are not differentiated. Proponents of eating low carb diets may also recommend carb intakes that are well below what your body needs to function optimally.
There are carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, as well as in processed foods and sugary desserts. While your body will process the carbohydrates in a simliar way – making them into glucose and spiking your blood sugar – the processed foods add little to no other nutrients, while the carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables also carry vitamins and minerals that essential to your health.
The trick is to balance out the number of carbs you eat each day against your total calories and watch the quality of the carbohydrates you are eating. On a Paleo diet you’ll be eating carbohydrates from nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. The National Institutes of Health states that the average number of carbs eaten each day is between 220-320 grams per day for men and 180-230 grams per day for women. (1) According to the University of Maryland that calculation is lower than their recommended carbohydrate intake. (2)
Unfortunately, these numbers are high enough that it causes both a spike in your blood sugar and a crash a couple of hours later as the insulin in your body helps to metabolize the sugar and leaves you feeling tired and drained.
Your body uses the carbohydrates to make glucose, which is the fuel used by your cells for energy. So as your blood sugar (glucose) spikes and then crashes, so does your energy level.
There are two main types of carbohydrates – complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs are found in foods with starches and fiber and take a bit longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller longer. Simple carbohydrates (Processed Carbohydrates) are broken down quickly and found in sugars. These sugars are in fruits, milk products and food processing and refining.
If you are a Processed Carbohydrates lover, these are the junk carbs that never leave you satisfied either. Your body wants more, more more. These are the “non-natural” carbs you really need to avoid.
Processed Carbohydrates: Good Carbohydrates in Paleo Eating
I could list good carbs for DAYS…but this graphic does a good job of summing it up:
I’ve worked very hard over the last few months to find the yummiest Paleo recipes and desserts to add to my Pinterest Pondering Paleo Board. Follow me for great ideas and if you have a recipes or Pin to share, leave me a link in the comments below!
Centers for Disease Control and prevention: Carbohydrates
Atkins: What are carbs
Medical News Today: What are Carbohydrates
Insitute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes