Do you want the truth? Just how bad are carbohydrates?

After all every food advertisement you see today makes it sound like you should hunt down and destroy the pesky things. I mean every food is now given a net carb count.

Even beer commercials are going low carb. Geez, beer never had more than four or five grams to begin with and the calories in beer haven’t changed. Nah, it’s just that now you read the label more closely and realize there are actually carbs in beer. Before Atkins and South Beach all we cared about was how much alcohol was in beer!

So, are carbohydrates really the bad guys they’re being made out to be?

I mean people are losing weight like crazy on the South Beach diet so there must be some truth to the fact that carbs are bad?

Well - drum roll please - there is a whole lot of truth to all this fuss about carbs. In fact, most of the carbohydrates in the typical American diet should be eliminated.

But lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. Some are bad and others aren’t so bad but the life and death truth is this…

…You must have carbohydrates to sustain a healthy body and a sharp mind.

There is simply no way around this physiological fact. You see carbs are the fuel that keeps your motor running. They are like gasoline to an engine.

The real key is to understand which ones are best for the engine.

Let me introduce you to Complimentary Carbs. What are Complimentary Carbs?

Complimentary carbs will do two very important things for you:

They will assist you in weight loss and,
They will support an active, fitness oriented lifestyle.

Look at it this way: You and a friend are traveling to the same destination and you are traveling in identical cars. You both have only five gallons of gas. However, your friend is taking the highway and you are taking the city streets to the destination.

Your trip is stop and go, heavy acceleration then slow down for a red light. Get up to 55 mph then down again to a crawl. Stop-go, stop-go. Accelerate fast-slow down.

Your friend gets on the highway, sets the car on cruise control and leisurely steers the car until time to exit and pull into the parking lot. Your friends’ car has two gallons of gas left over when she arrives.

You are on empty and barely get to your destination. What was the difference?

The difference is this:

You gave your car more fuel than it could use with all the heavy acceleration, slow down, speed up, stop-go driving. That unused fuel went through your catalytic converter and into the street and atmosphere.

Your body is similar. Give it more fuel all at one time than it can use and your catalytic converter (insulin) will send it away as fat.

Carbohydrates that give you a big rush of sugar (white bread, rice cakes, watermelon) are for your body like the city streets are for your car.

Complimentary carbs are more like the cruise control – easy, smooth, and gradual. Giving you all the fuel you need without wasting a bit (storing it as fat).

You see, because complimentary carbs release their energy slower, (this means they have a lower glycemic index) your body can maintain a more stable blood sugar level. This is good because you will have sustained energy over a longer period and your body will have access to smaller, even “doses” of energy.

These smaller doses give you the time to actually utilize the sugar (glucose = fuel) thereby preventing an “overdose” and the need to store any excess as fat.

Diabetics typically eat these foods to help them regulate spikes in their blood sugar and to help them to be less dependent on insulin. In other words, diabetics can often manage their disease simply by regulating the kind of carbohydrates they eat.

Better yet, there’s an added bonus…

…when you eat these “complimentary” foods many of them have considerable fiber content and they require more calories to digest. As a result, these complimentary carbs not only give you more sustained energy over a longer period they also help you to develop a better daily ‘burn” rate (as in calories) and ultimately aid in weight loss.

Thus, I call them complimentary foods. They compliment your efforts at maintaining energy balance and ideal weight. Eating them is what I call complimentary eating.

Space doesn’t allow for a long list of these foods. However, there is a terrific web site at that provides a great deal of information on the glycemic index of foods and provides an extensive list of foods and their glycemic index. When looking at this list of foods, note that the complimentary carbs are those with the lower glycemic index.

So what do you do with this information in real life?

1. Increase your consumption of foods that are low on the glycemic index and avoid those that are high on the list.

2. Cut back on refined flower and processed foods by avoiding the aisles of the super market.

3. Avoid eating too many “diet” foods. What does that mean anyway?

4. Just eat fresher more colorful foods and more old-fashioned foods (slow cook oatmeal, lentils, barley, nuts) and lots and lots of green stuff.

5. Take care not to fall prey to food manufacturer “spin”. All the labels for net carb, useable carb, low carb, and no carb are mostly lies and marketing hype. There are still more calories in a gram of alcohol than in a gram of carbohydrate so low carb beer just doesn’t matter. Low alcohol beer is better but who wants to drink that?

6. Eat more often from your own kitchen. I know, I know I don’t have time either. But face it, life is the stuff that always gets in the way of your plans but you plan anyway don’t you? So maybe you can cook a bunch of complimentary foods and have leftovers if time is a premium.

7. If eating at home is not possible try to get as educated as possible on good carbs and protein and eat prepared meals containing smart choices.

Eating well need not be an exercise in deprivation nor biochemistry. Eating carbs need not be the end of good eating. Once you make a few small adjustments and see results it gets easier to make a few more and to be a good judge of choices.

Before long these small steps have made a considerable distance and your results will show. You’ll maintain or lose weight at will and still enjoy the goodness of carbs.

Author's Bio: 

Allan Boshell is author of two books, countless articles, and educational courses on how to lose weight and get fit while enjoying the process. For more information on how to never fail at dieting again go to