Ever since ingredients were modified and manipulated in factories, from their original form, to produce foods for on-shelf “ease of consumption” we began tackling weight-related issues. Worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975. This epidemic has a flow-on negative effect to other health-related issues.
The jury is still out as to whether this coincided with a change in lifestyle. Around this time there was the introduction of household technology as well as major changes in general technology, to ease people’s lives and make things occur faster, so less incidental movement became a by-product. Do we blame that we have inevitably become lazier when remote controls, Bluetooth technology and online servicing were introduced or is that we have made changes in the food chain and ingredient structures that have had a negative chemical reaction on the human body, as foods have been stripped of their nutritional qualities to create fast-moving, edible, tasty food, pumped with chemicals, flavouring and calorie-dense ingredients?
With these above changes and people feeling the need to be proactive in managing weight, dieting, or the concept of a diet became very popular in the 1970s. Many diets were thrown around including the idea of the low carbohydrate diet. The premise behind this concept was that eating too many carbohydrates, especially sugar, white flour and refined carbohydrates – leads to sugar imbalances, weight gain, and cardiovascular issues. When individuals reduce carbohydrates they do lose weight. However, with the ever-increasing mass production of more and more refined products, foods with hidden ingredients, and the increase in convenience foods, maintaining this low carbohydrate diet has become difficult to adhere to long term.
Whichever way you look at it, things need to change! Our mindset needs to change! We need to shop better, choose better, and find ways to be active without cutting corners. The obesity epidemic is not a farce, it is real and if you understand the repercussions of carrying excess weight, then you understand the implications not just on the health care system but also on each and every individual’s quality of life.
A low carbohydrate diet is not for everyone, however reducing or even cutting out certain carbohydrates is something everyone needs to be aware of and work towards. These types of carbohydrates are the foods made from sugar or are high in sugar, which includes lollies, soft drink and sports drink, fruit juice, many sauces and spreads, snack bars, breakfast cereals to name a few. They may also include refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white bread, crackers, pastries, cakes, and many more. By just reducing or removing these foods most individuals will already see a change in not only their weight, but how they feel without completely reducing their total carbohydrate intake.
By still consuming wholegrain foods including oats, brown rice, quinoa and other grains as well as wholemeal flour, wholegrain bread, whole grain pasta and whole fruit, you will still be receiving carbohydrates, but also other very important nutrients that have not been stripped away when the initial ingredient was sent to a factory to be refined. These other nutrients such as bran, fiber and some vitamins and minerals are very important for a well-balanced diet.
Once the refined carbohydrates have been reduced or even removed many other options exist to further lower carbohydrates if an individual so desires to. Just remember managing your carbohydrate intake is about balancing your carbohydrates with your activity level. Be mindful no to cut too much out and risk missing some vital nutrients for your health and well-being.