Carbohydrates are some of the most frequently discussed parts of the modern diet, usually because we are eating too many. Despite their association with weight gain, carbohydrates remain an important part of complete health. In fact, there’s much more to them than you might expect. Some carbohydrates, i.e., starch and fiber, are capable of benefiting you even more than they can be troublesome.

Carbs and you

Carbohydrate is a term that actually covers three separate groups: sugar, starch and fiber. In its simplest form, a carbohydrate is glucose, a fuel our bodies can burn quickly and efficiently. There is more than one type of sugar, but glucose is the most basic and most easily metabolized by the body.

Starch is what most people think of as carbohydrates. More often than not, using starch and carbohydrate interchangeably is entirely fine. A starch is simply a more complex form of sugar that is broken down by the body into glucose.

Dietary fiber is most often plant matter and is found in many of the same foods as starches, such as whole grains. Fiber can’t be broken down into sugar and is most beneficial because of the indigestible compounds it contains. These, rather than being broken down by the body, are used by bacteria in the body for multiple benefits. Fiber is very important to proper health.

Carbohydrates in your diet

When it comes to how many or how few carbs you need in your diet, it can be something of a tricky business. Olumia Life is specifically designed to make this process easier. In fact, for most people, adding carbs to your diet is not an issue, it’s determining how much you need to cut back. Carbs, particularly sugar and starch, are a major part of the epidemic of obesity and being overweight, coupled with not enough exercise, poor sleep, etc.

We often have too many carbs in our diet due to eating overly processed food, improper serving sizes and snacking poorly. Starch and sugar is often used to improve the taste of frozen foods (especially low-fat ones) or to extend the shelf-life of baked goods. Not that the cinnamon rolls you find in a gas station were healthy before, but those plastic-wrapped bricks are even more unhealthy than fresh ones.

Cutting out starches completely, though, isn’t the answer. For proof that starch can be part of a healthy diet you can simply look at the cuisine of many Asian and Mediterranean countries. Whether it’s pitas, pasta or rice, both areas are marked by very healthy, long lives because of the amount of starch they consume. (Of course other factors, like olive oil and fish consumption, play a part in that as well.)

What has starch but isn’t a starch?

The most common starches are bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. However, starch is present in a vast variety of other foods. You may have noticed already that a lot of foods you might consider healthy fall into the category of starches. Olumia Life doesn’t count corn, beans, or fruit/veggies as starches, though; this is primarily because of the other ingredients in these foods, like protein and fiber. When it comes to starch in your Nutritional Ratio, some foods are exceptions. That means fruits and veggies at each meal, and twice as much protein as starch.

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