Although carbs are often labeled as unhealthy and a non-no, your body and mind actually need them. In fact, not having enough carbs will leave your mind foggy, making it hard for you to concentrate.
Carbs are often labeled as unhealthy picks since they are linked to sugar and insulin spikes. Nonetheless, the body and mind need carbs to keep functioning, and depriving them of carb-rich foods can lead to detrimental effects. Still, there is every need to observe the thin line between good, healthy carbs and the bad, unhealthy ones. This guide tells you everything you need to know about good, healthy carbs, hopefully changing your perspective of this macronutrient.
Carbohydrates are macronutrients
Carbohydrates are macronutrients. This means that the body and mind need them and cannot do without them. In fact, carbs are one of the three main nutrients you must include in your diet to make it balanced. A gram of carb packs 4 calories, showing that they are the main calorie sources. As such, carbs typically form the centerpiece of many people’s calorie intact. For instance, one recent study showed that 45% – 70% of an average person’s daily calorie intake comes from carbs. This means that only 30%- 55% comes from protein, fat, or vitamin-rich foods.
You cannot exclude calories from your diet
As already stated, your mind and body need carbohydrates and will not properly function without them, and there is a handful of reasons behind this. For instance;
You can find a good balance with simple carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are those the body easily digests and quickly absorbs into the bloodstream. This means that they are fast-acting and might lead to up-and-downs with sugar and insulin levels shortly after taking them. Table and brown sugar, agave, honey, milk (lactose), high fructose corn syrup, fructose (fruits), sucrose, and glucose are such simple sugars that act fast in the body and quickly leave hangovers. Does this mean that they are all a no-no? Absolutely not. Remember, it is the very simple carbs that the complex carbs are broken for the body to absorb them, showing that you undoubtedly need them. What’s the way forward, then?
You need to strike a balance with these carbs to prevent your system from collapsing. Remember that besides providing instant energy, some of these simple carbs have health benefits, especially when unprocessed or minimally processed. Of course, foods made with simple sugars such as candies, sans fiber, plain fruit juice, and other confectionery items should be out of the picture since they add more harm than good to health. Contrastingly, milk and fruits are rich in minerals, vitamins, and other health-promoting compounds. Eating such simple carbs in moderation will undoubtedly benefit your system. Besides, stick to whole fruits as opposed to blended juices as much as possible.
Do complex carbs all the way
Complex carbohydrates are a must-include in your diet for good health. In fact, you can capitalize on them since they have many perks on your health. Complex carbs are packed with fibers (insoluble and soluble) and are mainly found in vegetables and grains. Soluble fibers mix with food to form gelatin, promoting fullness, slowing down digestion to allow maximum time for action, and fixing in cholesterols and fats to prevent the blood from taking in excess of these. Contrastingly, insoluble fibers add bulk to stool, preventing constipation and making your loo trips more comfortable. How, really, will you reap these help benefits if you keep off carbs (including complex ones)?
Fibers (a form of complex carbs) have other health perks
There is more to fibers than the health benefits discussed above. Since they are not easily digestible, fibers take longer in the digestive tract than other foods. As such, you keep full for longer, eliminating the need to eat from to time and overindulge in junk foods. Consequently, eating carbs in moderation can help you work your way up to successfully losing weight. Besides, dietary fibers (carbs) feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, keeping this system healthy and boosting overall health.
Two simple rules to remember when taking carbs
The body and mind undoubtedly need carbohydrates, and you are not going to eliminate them from your diet. However, note that too much simple carbs puts your body in a rollercoaster mode whereby the blood sugar and insulin levels fluctuate non-stop. This is dangerous and has been linked to prediabetes, obesity, and blood sugar levels. As such, keep these two rules in mind as you eat carbohydrates;
- Opt for whole carbs as opposed to highly processed carbs. For instance, instead of doing fruit juices, try fruits
- Combine macronutrients to avoid nutritional deficiency syndrome. While carbs may be good for energy, you have to add fats for cell structuring and taste, and proteins for muscles.
Many have been led to believe that carbs are a no-no because they are heavily packed with calories. However, you need carbohydrates for the mind and brain to function, energize yourself, benefit from vitamins and minerals from other foods, and keep your gut healthy, among other functions. Taking too many simple carbs from refined foods will lead to fluctuating blood and insulin levels, increasing diabetes type 2 and prediabetes risks. Nonetheless, whole carbs are a must-include in your diet, and balancing them with other macronutrients keeps everything in perspective.