The year is about 6 months in, I know a lot of us had new year resolutions and I’m sure for a lot of people, getting healthier and fitter were top of the list, some of you may have made the resolution to consume less carbohydrates as we have been told they are the enemy and are bad for us, here I am going to try to discuss carbohydrates and why are perceived as good and bad and the different sources of so called “good carbs” and “bad carbs” and I hope by the time we are done you would have a better understanding on the recent war against carbs.
Carbohydrates are one of the three main classes of foods and also the main source of energy. Carbohydrates are mainly sugars and starches that the body breaks down into glucose (a simple sugar that the body can use to feed its cells).
What is a low carb diet? Lots of times we have been told that carbohydrate is bad for us, this is in fact both true and false, why you ask? It is true because carbohydrate containing foods are one of the most common foods to find because there are different varieties both good and bad, and they are relatively very affordable. As a result of how readily available it is, we tend to over do it without realizing or caring and ignoring the fact that too much of everything is bad and that our body needs the other classes of food as well, (I am guilty of this as well lol)
It is also false because not all carbs are bad, there are some good carbs that the body requires for optimal function.
Let’s briefly discuss the 2 types of carbs
1) Complex carbs: these are “the good carbs” because they are a good source of energy, fiber and nutrients, they help lower glycemic index, they make you fuller quicker but are digested slowly, because they take longer to digest, they don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream as rapidly and don’t cause a rapid and big blood sugar spike. This allows us to use the energy provided from the carbs, and ultimately the sugar that it’s broken down into once we digest it, over a longer period of time. , and they help with metabolism. Taking them I the morning helps provide strength and endurance throughout the day. Complex carbs are mostly found in natural foods. Examples of complex carbs include, whole grains, brown rice, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, nuts, oats, etc
2) Simple carbs: these are otherwise known as bad carbs do the opposite. These carbs are more rapidly digested and broken down into glucose (blood sugar) and enter the blood stream to be used as energy. However, because these carbs are broken down and absorbed more rapidly, they cause a bigger blood sugar spike. Unless we’re exercising or performing an activity that requires a lot of concentrated energy (like hiking or rock climbing) we don’t need all this energy all at once and so we’re left with a lot of unused blood sugar that ultimately gets dumped off and stored as fat. They are usually non-filling but calorie dense. Simple carbs are usually found in processed foods that have little or no nutrients, examples are candy, sugared cereals, sodas and artificial fruit juices, refined breads, pastries, etc
So the truth is carbs are not all bad, in fact they are a necessary part of our diet, you just need to fuel your body with a healthy dose of carbs, protein and fat for a healthier, trimmer, more toned and defined body. Carbohydrates are nothing to be feared, neither are they a taboo, and they contain nutrients that play an integral role in weight loss and strength-training. Knowing foods that contain complex versus simple carbs is the key to sustained energy that can fuel you to get through even the busiest of days. If you want to embark on a low carb diet these are some basic information that you should have before you commence on such diet.
Carbs are not bad, if carbs are taken right.