Who is right? Are carbs evil? What are carbohydrates anyway?
At times it may feel like you need a PhD to figure out carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be a very confusing subject, I will break down some important concepts and definitions.
Simply put, carbs are the body’s main source of energy. The energy derived from fat metabolism can provide back up, but carbs are the preferred source of energy, particularly in the brain. Carbohydrates tend to get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss. Many popular opinions had us believe that in order to lose weight, we must limit or completely eliminate all of the carbs from our diet. But it’s not that simple. Carbs can be an important part of a healthy diet, if you choose the right ones. In fact, carbohydrates are the only nutrients that exist solely to fuel the body. Fact is, carbs which are sugars and starches found in grains, fruits, and vegetables provide crucial, fast-acting energy to feed your brain, muscles, and metabolism. When they’re consumed in their natural state, they can also contain loads of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber that you need in your daily diet. Carbohydrates are generally your body’s main source of fuel.
The quality of your carbs is as important as the quantity. Complex Carbs are foods, which contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils are examples of complex carbs. The good thing about Complex Carbs are, they’re difficult for the body to break down. Complex Carbs digest slowly, and the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream is also slower as a result. Most foods that contain Complex Carbs are also high in fiber, which regulates blood sugar and helps you feel full. In a 2015 study, people who were asked to eat 30 grams of fiber a day on top of their normal diet lost about as much weight as the people who were on a strict diet. If you eliminate almost all carbs from your diet, you’ll drop even more weight. But not for the reason you think. On a low-carb diet, your body mixes through its stores of muscle glycogen. Glycogen is broken down to release glucose into the bloodstream to be used as fuel for the cells. For every bit of muscle glycogen you burn, your body releases twice as much water. So initially you’ll lose weight, but it will be more from water than from body fat.
As with anything, the idea is to slowly add more complex carbohydrates into your diet as you transition out the bad ones. If you try to go cold turkey and eliminate them altogether, you may end up feeling lethargic and just plain out of it. However, once you make the transition and fully phase out the harmful carbs, you’ll notice a difference in your health almost instantly.
Here’s A List of Complex Carbs
Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
Rice (brown, colored and wild)
Whole-Grain (breads, cereals and flours)
"The things we try to avoid we face the most. It's because we put energy on trying to avoid it instead of just letting it go"