I don’t know who started the rumor that carbs are evil and make you fat, but I’m here to tell you that whoever said that is wrong. Carbs are not evil and if eaten correctly, they will not make you fat. There is so much information out in the world today about nutrition – eat this, stay away from that. Anyone can post his or her opinions online about dieting, so no one knows whom to really trust. So, I’m not here to tell you my opinions about carbohydrates, I’m here to give you the facts.
If you are currently an adult in your 20’s or 30’s you most likely grew up with a lot of talk about dieting. Dieting became a big thing in the 1980s and 1990s. Growing up in a dieting society can really mess up how one views food. Carbohydrates have probably had the worst of it when it comes to criticism. There are so many diets that instruct you to eliminate ALL carbs, and that simply does not make sense. Your body needs carbs to survive.
First, let’s discuss some general facts about carbohydrates. Carbs should make up between 45-65% of your daily calorie intake. That means over half of your diet should consist of carbs. Diets that ask you to have 0% of carbs are crazy. If you don’t eat carbs, where are you supposed to get your energy? Complex carbohydrates are turned into glucose while being digested and that glucose gives you energy. If you limit your calories and your carb intake your body doesn’t know where to get its energy. So, because of this lack of nutritional energy your body will try to conserve energy while at rest. This screws up your metabolism big time. You want your body using energy (burning calories) while at rest because that is what helps you maintain a healthy weight and lose weight. Exercise is only part of what causes you to burn calories. If your force your body into a situation where it can’t burn calories naturally anymore – you are going to have a lot of trouble controlling your weight.
There are two types of carbohydrates – one that truly does not get enough credit and another that has given carbs a bad rep.
Complex carbs (whole grains) are fantastic for your health. Whole grain is a seed from a plant – the entire seed. The whole seed contains endosperm (starch), bran (fiber), and germ (nutrients). You want to eat whole grains because they are difficult to digest, so they will keep you full and burn more calories through the digestion process. Here is a list of complex carbs that you want to include in your diet: rolled oats, brown rice, seeds, unsalted nuts, quinoa, yams/sweet potatoes, green vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils
Simple carbs (refined grains) are not good for your health. Refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ from the seed. This leaves you solely with endosperm, which basically means you are only eating the starchy bit and no nutrition or fiber. Simple carbs are empty calories – they do nothing for you. They are easy to digest, so they don’t stick with you very long. This means you will be hungry an hour after consuming them. That’s a recipe for over-eating. Here is a list of simple carbs that you should avoid: white pasta/bread/rice, instant oatmeal, bagels, donuts, muffins, sweets, soft drinks, processed anything
There are so many other options today when it comes to pasta, rice, bread, etc … there is no excuse to why you should be eating simple carbs. Your body needs carbs to survive, so do your body a favor and eat the good kind!