First steps in losing body fat: carb control Part 1

Published 3:03 pm Friday, April 16, 2010

Well, spring is here, and its that time of year when we trade in that bulky winter clothing for lighter, more form fitting attire.

Now dont panic if youre just getting started. You can still make real progress in losing that body fat.

This is going to be a two-part series. First were going to learn how to achieve carb control to lose body fat, then in my next column well explore the proper way to set up an exercise program. &bsp;

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Now, back to carbs. The word carbohydrate is synonymous with the word sugar. There are three different types of carbs. The first is what we call monosaccharides. This means one sugar, and is the simplest form of carbohydrate. An example of a monosaccharide might be candy or table sugar.

The second type of sugar is a disaccharide. This means two sugars. A disaccharide is composed of two simple sugars, such as sucrolose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose. An example of a disaccharide could be fruit.

The third type of sugar is called a polysaccharide. That means many sugars. These are actually chains of monosaccharides. Examples of polysaccharides could be bread, rice, or potatoes. &bsp;

Eating too many carbs makes us fat in two ways. First, if you take in too many carbs, which makes blood sugar rise, you increase insulin production, which then causes blood sugar levels to abruptly fall. This increases appetite which causes you to eat more, and thus gain more weight.

The second way consuming too many carbs make us fat is that if blood sugar levels are high, you wont dip into your fat stores. Remember, you have two fuel tanks. A fat fuel tank and a sugar fuel tank. Heres the thing you dont burn them both together.

In other words, if your blood sugar levels start to lower, your liver converts fat into fatty acids which the body then burns for energy.

Now, before you go out there and start a low-carbohydrate diet, lets look at the whole picture. First, you cant live without carbohydrates. They fuel both your muscles and your brain.

In fact, studies have shown that individuals on extreme carb-restricted diets can have difficulty performing tasks that require high-order cognitive function.

Let me share some of the approaches I use with my weight loss clients. First, get at least 25 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is found only in high-carbohydrate foods, which explains why many people on low-carbohydrate diets experience constipation.

Have no less than 130 grams of carbs a day. This is the minimum amount needed for proper brain function.

Instead of having your carbs all throughout the day, I recommend having them with two meals only, if you are trying to lose body fat. Try eating your carbs at or near the same time each day to avoid gastrointestinal problems. Also, keep a can of Coke (real not diet) in your car.

If you feel light-headed because of low blood sugar, pull over, drink the Coke to get your blood sugar up, then get help.

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, and Converse college equestrian team. He taught four semesters at USC-Union. David is also a regular guest of the Pam Stone Show. David also served as lead trainer to L.H.Fields Modeling Agency.