Sugar? Starch? Carb? What’s The Difference!

Last week we talked about forms of sugar (words ending -ose) and how they are different or alike. In many cases the sugars broke down to, in at least part, glucose. Glucose is used by your muscles to perform work. Sugars are SIMPLE carbohydrates. COMPLEX carbohydrates are what we call “starches”.

Why Do I CARE??

GLYCOGEN! Glycogen is why you care.

Glycogen is one of TWO forms of energy storage in the body:

1. Glycogen stored in muscle and the liver.

2. Triglycerides (i.e. FAT) stored in adipose tissue.

So, let’s get to the point…Your body can store 1-day’s worth of glycogen. The trick is, your body will use your “one day” stores of glycogen BEFORE relying on the stored energy in your fat cells. Meaning, you MUST exercise off your daily stores before you can mobilize the energy stored in the fat cells. Keep your energy/food intake in check!

Why Complex Carbohydrates Matter

All forms of sugar, and starch, break down into glucose. Starch is a COMPLEX CARB (i.e. 3-10 sugars linked in a long COMPLEX chain) vs sugar being a SIMPLE CARB.

Starch/complex carbs break down slower than simple carbs/sugar. Since complex carbs break down slower, we stay “full” longer. Complex carb examples include peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Stick with complex carbs in your diet vs simple carbs for overall health!

Starch come in the forms of digestible and resistant starch. Digestible starch is quickly turned into fat if we don’t use it right away. Resistant starch doesn’t get digested in the small intestine like digestible starch, instead many types ferment in the large intestine and act like fiber! Resistant starches are not broken down into glucose in the stomach, so they have a lower calorie content, also improve insulin sensitivity/lower our blood sugar levels and keep us full longer (thanks to the slow digestion). Although there are various types of resistant starch, some examples are grains, seeds, legumes, potatoes and unrefined rice.

WAIT: White rice is “refined”, which means it’s been processed, and the fiber has been broken down making it a SIMPLE carb. Brown rice however is a whole grain – fiber intact – so it is a complex carb. Purchase whole grain rice!

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs??

Why are the terms “good carbs” and “bad carbs” floating out there? GOOD carbs can be considered those that not only contain energy/glucose (i.e. refined sugar) but also vitamins and minerals (i.e. vegetables – more bang for your your calorie-buck).

EXERCISE improves how our body moves sugar/glucose into our muscles, eventually causing you to require much less insulin than someone who is physically inactive.

Shrimp and Crab Stir-Fry


Hi Everyone,

Time to dust off the stir-fry pan or Wok!  This recipe is low calories, totally filling, and very simple to make!  Eating your veggies will not only provide you with all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs on a daily basis, it will also help you stay full longer.  Staying satisfied will help curb cravings and lead you into temptation.

Crab and Shrimp Stir-Fry

1  8 Oz. Package Imitation Crab Meat

24 Pre-Cooked Shrimp

2  16 Oz. Bags Frozen Mix Stir-Fry Style Vegetables

2  Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

2  Cups Water

2  Tbsp. Chicken Bouillon Granules

2  Tbsp. Corn Starch

6  Cups Cooked Brown Rice

Directions:  In a large stir fry pan over medium heat, combine crab, shrimp, and 2 cups of water.  Cook for 5 minutes; then add vegetables, soy sauce, and chicken bouillon granules.  Increase heat, cover and cook about 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.

Combine the cornstarch with a 1/4 cup of water in a separate glass, and stir to a water like consistency.  Slowly add this mixture to the stir-fry pan to thicken the base of your stir fry.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Serves:  6

Total Calories: 231   Carb=35g Prot=19g Fat=1.5g

Ellipse Tip:  Instead of the crab and shrimp, you can also use chicken, lean steak, pork, or tofu in this recipe as well!

Chicken and Mushrooms by Ellipse

Hi Everyone~

We know that with hectic work schedules and all the curve-balls that life can throw your way, you have to have some recipes that “cook themselves” while you are away.  This savory dish is so easy to toss in your slow cooker in the morning and have dinner complete when you arrive back home!  Add some rice and a steamed vegetable as pictured above and you have a complete meal!

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms

3   Medium Chicken Breasts

1   Packet of Lipton Onion/Mushroom Soup Mix

1   Can of 98% Fat-free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/4 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

2   Cups Fresh Mushrooms

Directions:  Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Meanwhile stir together Onion/Mushroom Soup mix, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt), and mushrooms.  Pour this mixture over the chicken.  Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

Serves: 3

Total Calories: 379   Carb=18g Prot=44g Fat=5.4g

Ellipse Tip:  Another great side dish is a steaming baked potato.  The mushroom mixture that covers the chicken in the slow cooker makes a great topping for a potato!

Pork Chops and Rice by Ellipse Fitness

Hi Everyone~

I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day!  Sick of the turkey??  Well, here is a new pork chop recipe for you to try.  When choosing pork chops, it is best to look for lean, boneless pork chops with very little fat around the exterior.

Pork Chops and Rice

6  Lean Boneless Pork Chops

1  Can 98% Fat-free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1  Can Water

1  Cup Dry Brown Rice (Minute Style)

Salt & Pepper

Cooking Spray

Directions:  Sprinkle pork chops with salt & pepper.  Over medium heat, lightly brown pork chops on both sides in skillet coated with cooking spray. (NOTE:  Do not overcook them – just brown lightly on each side.)  Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of water, and 1 cup instant brown rice.  When finished browing pork chops, place them in a baking pan and pour soup and rice mixture over the top.  Cover pan with foil and bake approximately 50-60 minutes.

Serves: 3

Total Calories: 362   Carb=33g Prot=30g Fat=13g

Tiffany’s Tip:  This is a recipe that my mom used to make years ago!  It is so simple, but is absolutely delicious!  Serve this with steamed asparagus and a side salad for a complete meal!  If you want to make a double batch, allow about 15 more minutes for cooking time in the oven!