Eating one specific type of food will not make you gain weight, consider the context, the amount and your overall diet.
Questions surrounding carbohydrates are so common.
“Am I eating too many carbs?”
“Should I avoid carbohydrates for weight loss?”
“Carbs cause weight gain”
“Can I eat carbohydrates after 6pm?”
I think due to misinformation in the nutrition industry between the different types of carbohydrates a lot of people have been taught to fear them and that they all are bad.
Remember, not all carbohydrates are created equally. While some are unhealthy, there are a lot that are very beneficial to health.
Many fad diets cut carbohydrates out completely. Allowing them only in very small amounts, if any at all.
Due to a lot of confusion around this topic today I want to explain in simple science why carbohydrates are actually essential for the body and how you can still enjoy them when wanting to lose weight.
People often always think carbohydrates are only pasta, bread, potatoes, rice etc. but you can also find carbs in fruit, vegetables, legumes and dairy products.
Today we are discussing simple and complex carbohydrates.
Why do we need carbs?
When we eat carbohydrates, the majority of them are broken down into sugar to be used as energy for the body.
Your body runs on glucose which are the molecules that you burn for energy.
Glucose is the form of sugar that our brain uses. We also use glucose to have energy to breathe, digest, run, work and even think.
So all the digestible carbohydrates you get from food will be converted into glucose for energy.
We eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into sugar and provide the body with energy. That’s it, in simple science.
How to include carbs in your diet!
So now we know what carbohydrates do in the body, being the primary source of energy, lets explain how you can include them into your diet so you don’t have to fear them.
It’s important to know the difference between the types of carbohydrates. And which you should be focusing on for optimal health.
Simple carbs are found in buns, pastries, fruit juice concentrate, some cereals, sweets and soda beverages.
They don’t have to be excluded completely but definitely you would want to keep these to a bare minimum in your diet. These are sometimes foods and not the carbohydrates you should be focusing on.
These foods contain very little or even no nutritional value.
A diet too high in simple carbohydrates will cause blood sugar levels to spike. Which can lead to an increased risk of diabetes.
This is because when you eat simple carbohydrates. They require little breakdown in the body for energy and therefore go straight into the bloodstream and cause a blood sugar spike.
A blood sugar spike is normally followed by an energy crash which in turn makes you reach for more.
So think about where you are getting your carbs sources from.
Is it from simple carbohydrates?
If so these may cause weight gain if eaten in excess. They also make it problematic if you are wanting to lose weight, impact energy and are generally not good for your overall health.
Now to discuss complex carbohydrates, they are packed with nutrients, fiber and digest slower in the body.
Complex carbs are very necessary for health.
Types of complex carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, oats, beans, potatoes, wholegrain rice and wholegrain pasta etc.
They are normally natural food sources that contain carbohydrates and also lots of other nutrients that are very beneficial to health.
A balance of the right portions of healthy, complex carbohydrates in your diet will be used for the release of steady energy. Will be beneficial to living a healthy lifestyle. And decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Unlike simple carbs, complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to break down. So they are distributed into the blood stream in a more steady state, which supplies you with long lasting energy throughout the day.
Compared to simple carbohydrates that cause blood sugar spikes followed by energy crashes.
One tip that can be beneficial is to always monitor your portion sizes when it comes to carbs in general. Even the healthy types.
If you are consuming the appropriate portion size that your body needs whether it’s for weight loss, maintaining your weight or for fitness, then really you have no need to fear carbohydrates.
To round up: it’s important to not fear carbohydrates, especially for weight loss but focus more on the nutritious, complex types that provide the body with lots of essential nutrients and steady energy.
Ask a Registered Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist for guidance if you want to know the correct carbohydrate intakes for you specifically. Remember everybody requires different amounts.
I hope you enjoyed this article. With balance, from today on don’t be afraid of carbohydrates. Be wary of any fad diets that tell you to exclude them completely as this is not healthy, sustainable and as explained complex carbs have a healthy job to do in the body .
Please share this article with anyone you think you might find it useful.