There were times when carbohydrates were considered as fitness, health and weight loss enemies. And then with so much information around and trends changing from day to day; one day they are healthy, the next they aren’t.
So, how do you know what to believe and what to not?
There is one fact that remains unchanged throughout is that our body needs all the nutrients in our diet. And protein, fats, and carbohydrates being a part of the major macronutrients, they are equally essential for our body to stay healthy and active.
When we talk about carbs, they are a much larger food group that goes beyond bread and pizzas.
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibres found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products, often maligned in trendy diets. The dietary fibres are also a type of carbohydrate found in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are necessary to maintain a normal weight and healthy heart and to keep your digestive system regular.
The body uses carbohydrates to produce glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going.
So if we jump to the conclusion, carbohydrates are important for a healthy body and weight loss both. Let’s dig deeper and learn more about the myths surrounding carbohydrates.
Carbs make you fat
Yes, carbs are fattening. And if you are on to consuming calorie-dense foods like potato chips and soda, you will become fat. But carbohydrates are beyond soda and chips.
Instead, foods with complex carbs like whole-wheat bread, beans, and fruits contain more fibre and have lots of other nutrients which are important for maintaining a healthy weight.
Our bodies don’t need carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are of various types. Glucose, a type of carbohydrate, is important for the functioning of kidneys, liver, brain and every organ system in the body. The body uses glucose for energy and stores excess glucose as glycogen. This glycogen is used by the body during fasting or exercising.
This is the reason that the body needs glucose.
Low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight
With low-carb diets, people see fast results and therefore these diets have become popular. However, according to many pieces of research, long-term low-carb diets are not sustainable.
Low-carb diet cut out large groups of vegetables, fruits and grains which deprives the body of getting enough vital nutrients to manage the weight effectively.
On the contrary, low-carb diets can increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies and constipation due to their low fibre content.
Fruits are high in carbs and should be avoided
Fruits are important as part of a healthy diet. Fruits contain fibre, which helps with weight control and digestive health, as well as many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fruit contains carbohydrates in the form of natural sugar, which is much different than processed sugars. Processed sugar is what contributes to weight gain and increases the risk of chronic diseases.
Thanks to on-and-off diets trends, the fruit has also gotten bad media. People often say that fruit has too much sugar in it. Yet, along with a natural form of sugar, called fructose, the fruit is full of nutrients that our bodies need.
Eating more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing diabetes, along with other chronic diseases.
Carbohydrates are difficult to digest
Although certain categories of food are higher in fibre can make the digestive system’s work hard, all carbs do not fall under this category and therefore should not stop you from consuming them regularly.
Foods that have a higher content of insoluble fibre are more difficult to digest and can cause an upset stomach.
However, soluble fibres that are found in whole grains, bananas, and certain vegetables like cucumbers, can the digestive system back on track.
So, after clarifying these misconceptions around carbohydrates, jumping to the conclusion that carbohydrates are important for a healthy body would not be wrong.
We just need to know the carbs which are essential for our body like whole grains, fruits, and beans and are great ways to meet fibre, vitamin and mineral needs and maintain a healthy body.