Choose your carbohydrates wisely for weight loss and maintenance.

Reduce consumption of simple and “like simple” sugars


Increase your consumption of “super complex Carbohydrates”


Generally foods can be categorized in 3 groups as Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.

For this discussion, we will focus on carbohydrates and further divide them by how rapidly they are broke down by our digestive system and how rapidly the energy is available for use!  We will use this as an indicator of whether they tend to speed up your metabolism or slow it down.

Carbohydrates are burned (the chemical digestion process) by our bodies.   For this discussion we will use this analogy:

Gasoline burns quickly … if there was a very small bowl of gasoline and you threw a match onto it, it would flash (explosively) releasing all of its energy at once.  That energy released can actually be measured in BTU’s.  We have foods that when we eat them, they release all of their energy very quickly with minimal digestive effort (almost like gasoline burns) and we can measure the amount of energy release in calories and we rate how fast it is digested and absorbed into our blood stream by it’s glycemic index.
NOTE: The glycemic index (GI) is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. The number typically ranges between 50 and 100, where 100 represents the standard, an equivalent amount of pure glucose.

So all foods are compared to glucose or “blood sugar”.

Now let’s look at Charcoal.  If there was a small bowl of charcoal and you threw a match onto it, the match would most likely go out before the charcoal began to burn.  If you hold the match or flame just off the charcoal for long enough, it would begin to burn and slowly spread from briquette to briquette. They would all burn and release all of the available energy, again measured in BTU’s across an hour or more.  It is important to note: it most likely releases the same amount of energy as the bowl of gasoline, but releases it slowly, across a longer period of time.

So now we can categorize foods (carbohydrates) that release their energy more like gasoline and foods that release their energy more like charcoal.  We can use glycemic index to place these foods into different categories.

It is important to note that foods that release their energy more like gasoline or release its energy quickly … tend to slow the metabolism down! 

It’s like your brain & body communicate and decides “I’m good …  and BTW … store what I’m not using right now in my as fat in my fat stores”.

Just as important to note is that foods that burn like charcoal or release their energy slowly … tend to speed up your metabolism!

It’s like your brain & body communicate and decides “I’m not getting what I require fast enough  …  so let’s double up on our efforts and go get what I have stored as fat and use that to help!

For our discussion, let’s look at and categorize carbohydrates in the following five ways, rating them by how they affect metabolism and whether they act more like gasoline – releasing energy quickly – or more like charcoal – releasing energy slowly.

Seven categories we will discuss:

  1. Simple Carbs
  2. “Like Simple” Complex Carbs
  3. Complex Carbs
  4. Super Complex Carbs
  5. Processed Foods
  6. Spices & Seasoning
  7. Artificial sweetener substitutes

Simple sugars:


Sugar, anything made with sugar. On labels check the first few ingredients … look for words ending in “ose” and avoid things made from sugar, candy, cake, ice cream, cookies, molasses, syrups, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch.

These are gasoline and slow your metabolism down for an extended period of time.  Many suggest that it takes 36-72 hours to get your body in fat burning mode.  These kill that mode & start you all over again.

  1. “Like Simple” Complex Carbs (Limit Eating)


Honey, fruit, especially equatorial Fruit (higher sugar content), Dried Fruit (crystallized structure make it more like sugar that fruit), Jellies, Fruit juices, North American fruit … Apples, Watermelon, Pears, Oranges (Citrus) can be eaten in smaller qualities and just before or just after physical activity.  NOTE: tomatoes are fruit watch out for tomato sauces especially with hidden sugars.

Complex Carbs: (enjoy eating these fibrous carbs)

In the right quantity, and eaten the right time of day


Carrots, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Peppers:  Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Artichokes, Onions, Turnips, Beets, Eggplant, Squash, Corn, Yams, Radish, Starchy Carbs, (Grains), Rice, Oatmeal, Wheat germ, Rye, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth, Barely, Millet

Note: potatoes are great for energy when mixed with green leafy vegetables.  Sweet potatoes are probably best as they are not nightshades (like white potatoes) and do not effect inflammation issues.

Super Complex Carbohydrates: Mostly Green leafy Fibrous Carbs:


Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Celery, Collard greens, Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce (anything but Iceberg lettuce), Watercress, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Parsley,

Starchier Carbs: Red Potatoes, White Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Legumes (Beans).   Note: potatoes are great for energy when mixed with green leafy vegetables.  Sweet potatoes are probably best as they are not nightshades and do not possibly effect inflammation issues.

Starchy & more Processed Foods:


Avoid refined or processed foods.  For example, bagels include wheat in the flour.  The flour is processed and refined.  The processing strips most of the nutrients out of the flour.  Thus the bagel is treated like sugar by the body.

Pasta, Pizza, Bread, Bagels, Croutons, Cold Cereal, Waffles, Pancakes, Crackers, Cookies Muffins, Flour:  Wheat, Rye, and Spaghetti.

Spices & Seasoning:


Most of these are green leafy vegetables … watch out for MSG, sodium content, or sugar added:
Vinegars:  Rice, White/Red, Mustard, Peppers:  White, Black, Red, Garlic, Italian Seasonings (Check Label), Caribbean seasonings, Chili, thyme, basil, Cumin, Onions, Cajun, Cloves, Dill Seed, Oregano, Parsley, etc.

Artificial sweetener substitutes:


I added this one in just in case you are getting your sweet fix another way … so I will be brief:

There is a ton of information written on each specific artificial sweetener, but if you think that the sweet dust of artificial sweetener mixed into your food and drinks is safe and doesn’t carry any health risk, then you’re seriously mistaken.   Use Stevia!

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GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES … speeding up your metabolism!

These have low glycemic indexes and create an ideal carb flow for individuals wanting to lose weight.  You eat slow to digest green leafy vegetables.  they go from your digestive tract to your liver for processing.  Once your liver glycogen stores are full (liver takes care of its own first), it passed glucose into your blood stream little bit at a time.  Since a lot is not going into the blood stream all at once, you do not have a high insulin response, which would causes insulin to carry excess levels of blood sugar in your arteries into your fats stores.  In fact if your muscle cells are not filling adequately, your body will pull stored energy (stored carbs in your fat), out to use to sustain activity levels.



These have the potential to speed up or slow down your metabolism. 

These are great for energy, but can go either way.  These have higher glycemic indexes to be used for energy.  They are relatively easy to digest and left on their own would go from the digestive tract to the Liver.  Once your Liver glycogen stores are full they would enter the blood stream quickly.  This causes a high insulin response and  this vital blood sugar is then cleaned out of your arteries and taken into fat stores to protect the body leaving muscle glycogen stores empty.  The way around this is to mix these with fiber and Protein.  When these starchier carbs are mixed with fiber and protein, it lowers the glycemic index (slow them down) and  the abundant energy now reaches the muscle cells!   So eat these in the more active part of your day and mix them with green leafy veggies (fiber) and a Lean Protien.

Glucose has glycemic index of 85-111, average 100
Glucose consumed with 15-20 grams of fiber has glycemic index of 57-85
Glucose consumed with protein and fat has glycemic index of 56

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These slow down your Metabolism

This diagram show what happens when you eat sugar.  It goes from your digestive tract to your Liver.  Your liver fills their liver glycogen stores then converts all beyond those needs to fat and it enters your fat in the exact composition that makes it easier to store.  You feed better because your Liver glycogen stores are full, but do not necessarily perform better because this energy is no making it to your muscle cells as glucose in the right form to be utilized easily.