Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Food, or Carbs, For Thought!

By Anna Boom

Eating carbs:
So yummy but is there more than meets the eye and waistline?

If you are like me, you find carbs delish: any type and color of fruit, the fresh whole grains, ice cream. Here is one of our moments of friendship punctuated by, "You too? I thought it was just me!".

I recently read an interesting book, Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream, by Jennifer Ackerman that covers everything that happens in the day of a life of our body. Parts of the book were not so enticing (ear canals and drums, how your nose hairs stop colds) but one part struck me; how different body types handle carbohydrates. The book introduces a study that was able to isolate the bacteria, B. theta, in our guts that processes carbs into fat. The more of this type of B theta you have, the more (I cringe at this thought!) efficient your body is at processing carbs into...fat. If we did not have that type bacteria in our guts, carbs would sail on through without stopping to be turned into energy. Yes, that also means the banana I eat and the banana you eat may have a different calorie count. My carb processing bacteria may extract 100 calories worth of carbs where yours may only break down 70kcal.

So what do we do, what can we do? Keep running, keep your healthy lifestyle on track, keep carb count, or not. Ahh, the subject of another article.

Foster library has the book, Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream by Jennifer Ackerman, 2007, if you are interested in reading more.

Additional thoughts by Jannine Myers:

After reading Anna's post above, I couldn't help thinking about Thanksgiving this week and how I love the holidays because, well, I love to eat! And I love to eat carbs! I have no idea how much of the bacteria, B Theta, I have in my intestinal tract, but the rebel in me is screaming at me to "eat more carbs!" In fact, my sweet tooth got the better of me this weekend and I couldn't resist baking a batch of pumpkin chocolate brownies - nothing wrong with getting a little head start on the festival cooking right?
Happily working my way through these with the help of my daughters - there's more in the fridge :)

Well actually, maybe I DO need to curb my sweet tooth a little, and cut back on those carbs. Especially during the holidays when every supermarket aisle is filled with all kinds of luring treats, and when holiday parties start to quickly fill up the calendar.

The temptation to either overeat, or eat more of the "unhealthier" types of carbs, is going to frequently challenge you over the next few weeks, but as runners, you have a definite advantage - you have the ability to burn more calories than your non-active friends and family members. And  furthermore, because running has taught you to be disciplined, you also have the ability to eat those carbs in MODERATION! And therein lies what I believe is the answer to the carb dilemma - simply eat mostly wholesome and healthy foods, but don't be afraid to enjoy MODERATE portions of your favorite, but less-nutritious foods.  


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