This blog will explore the recent discussion on the BBC about beige and green carbs and the effect that they have on your digestion of carbohydrates. Plus the effect of carbs on different body types and which body types can eat more carbs. Then this blog will outline how you can test your own personal carbohydrate tolerance and how you can improve your ability to metabolise and use carbs.
Carbs are a cheap form of food but how good are they for you?
Carbs are easy to cook and when you are in a hurry they make a FAST meal. Who hasn’t bought fresh pasta from Sainsbury’s and felt that they were being ‘healthy’ and nutritious? There is a whole generation of kids that have been brought up on ‘pasta and pot shots’. There is no doubting that pasta is a super quick and a very cheap meal. But is that meal nutritious? Or is it, in fact, damaging your health?
What is the value to your body of consuming these quick easy pasta meals? ZERO! But are all carbs equal? Do they all contain the same properties?
Let’s break it down into the 3 types of carbohydrates:
- Starch – beige
- Sugar – white
- Fibre – green
Beige & White Carbs
Starch is what we usually understand carbs to mean and include foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. These “beige” varieties of carbs are not good for you. And neither is “white” carbs which are found in sugary foods such as fizzy drinks, sweets, processed and refined foods including manufactured cakes and biscuits. Most of the starch and sugar in these beige and white carbs are broken down into glucose for energy, and if you eat too much, the glucose is stored as fat.
Previously the media and even scientific reporting have had you worried us that if you are not eating carbs then you won’t have energy. Carbs give you energy that Gym Bunnies used to chant and yet the results found in the BBC programme was startling (but not all that surprising if you have been reading my blogs for a while 😉
What is a ‘green carb’ no it isn’t an ethically motivated, good to the environment tree hugger? Although that would be a good description.
Green carbs are simply your vegetables. Let’s make that point very clear, vegetables are carbs.
Vegetables keep you full and slow down stomach emptying, plus they supply you with vitamins and minerals that are only found in plants called phytonutrients.
Veg is good for your teeth and gums and good for your guts, keeping everything moving and feeding your gut bacteria.
Don’t miss my blog: What are probiotics and prebiotics and why you shouldn’t buy YOGHURT DRINKS
Resistant starch is found in high-fibre foods such as lentils, beans and unprocessed whole grains – is also hard to digest in a good way: it gets right down into your lower digestive tract (your colon) where its main job is not to feed you but rather to feed your gut bacteria.
Healthy gut bacteria are linked to a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental and a lack of gut bacteria has been found to lead to obesity and other health issues.
Don’t miss my blog: Is not Enough Gut Bacteria Making you Fat?
A tip from the BBC programme: “The Truth About Carbs” found that reheating MAY turn bad carbs into good – if you reheat starches like pasta or toasted bread from the freezer, the molecules reconfigure themselves and become more resistant, allowing them to travel further in your gut and feed your microbiome.
Personally I am not convinced, it feels like a spurious link and it overcomplicates a simple message.
If you are eating lots of vegetables then you are not on a low carb diet. And the results from the programme speak for themselves:
- Reducing carbs meant that the patients weren’t feeling hungry
- Their measurements had dropped
- Type 2 Diabetes reversed after 2 weeks (although the patient had it for 17 years!)
- six out of seven patients had lost half a stone or more within 2 weeks (reference: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44368601)
How do you decide if you are carb tolerant? There are two ways of discovering your tolerance to carbohydrates
- The Cracker Test
- Analysis of your body type
Cracker test findings on your how much Carbs you can tolerate
The recent BBC programme ‘The Truth about Carbs’ tested this with their ‘Cracker test’. If the respondent could detect a change in their taste of the flavour when consuming a cracker.
The report advised that these body types that could tolerate carbs because they had a higher amount of amylase enzyme in their mouth. Amylase is a digestive enzyme and the more of this enzyme that your body has then the more likely you are able to digest carbs.
Those enzymes are breaking down the sugar molecules into smaller ones. Amylase begins the digestion of starch, although it is rendered inactive as it reaches the acidic environment of your stomach.
Amylases in your saliva help to break down the carbohydrates into smaller chunks, but can only help with about 20% food carbohydrate breakdown. Ths percentage is dependent on the time food spends in your mouth. So the less you chew, the faster you swallow and the less salivary amylase has a chance to work on your food.
Therefore slow down whilst eating your food.
3 Cracker’ test results
- if you can detect a change in the taste of the cracker within 30 seconds then you are more likely to tolerate carbs.
- If you eat the cracker and there is a much slower taste change then that suggests that you can’t tolerate carbs as much and you should watch your intake
- No change at all that means you have a low concentrate of amylase in your mouth and that suggests that you might struggle eating carbs
To summarise, if you can taste a change within 30 seconds of chewing that means you were able to eat more carbs without any problems.
Body Type and your ability to tolerate Carbs.
Nutritionists and Personal Trainers have always know that your body type will affect the way you process your food. Simply put you could view this difference as metabolic rate. It is very easy and straightforward to recognise once you ‘know’ what to recognise in your own body. There are 3 distinct body types and I have said this before but it is still amusing they are all related to Morph!
A mesomorph is a strong ‘cross fit’ or Serena Williams body type, strong, athletic, they will be able to tolerate a reasonable amount of carbs.
An ectomorph is the round body type, those that put on weight easily won’t be able to tolerate pasta or beige foods.
An endomorph is a lean ‘can eat whatever they want’ body type. I always think of Mo Farah, and surprisingly they can tolerate carbs.
I am not simply passionate about helping girls realise their funky, sexiness and step into their gorgeous selves. I am obsessional! I have gorgeous OCD. I think the reason that I am so obsessional about health for women is that I know that everyone can have it. Nutritional advice is over complicated, mindset shifts can be daunting but not if have support and friendship. I invite you to capitalise on my OCD tendencies to your benefit
Over to you….
Take your first steps and find the time to put yourself first and explore how you can listen to your body more and observe your perfectionist tendencies with me. Book sometime out for yourself click here
Here is a quick video I put together for those who are joining me to chat, it explains exactly what you and I will chat about
I am looking forward to speaking with you.
Get Gorgeous is a journey together – yours and mine.