There are far too many people in life that are cutting out, avoiding or replacing carbohydrates from their daily diet because they are scared that eating carbs will hinder their weight loss goals. Ladies and gents we are here to bust that myth once and for all…
EATING A HEALTHY AMOUNT OF CARBS REGULARLY WILL NOT MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT. Wohooo!
But, not all carbs are created equally… some are nutrient dense and some are not (they just bring short-term happiness instead!) SO, let’s talk about the importance of carbs, the different forms they come in and the types of carb sources that should be included a healthy diet.
Carbs are a vital energy source for our everyday activity and a major macronutrient that we can’t afford to neglect. There are two types, simple carbohydrates, and complex carbohydrates. The main difference between these two is the way they are broken down in our body, let’s take a look…
Simple carbs are just that, simple.
They are made up of only one or two sugar molecules and the body breaks them down quickly, absorbs them as glucose into the bloodstream and in return they give you a quick burst of energy and a raised blood sugar level almost immediately.
Now, you know what I’m going to say next… but you guys asked for this!
Simple carbs are generally found in processed foods (sorry, it’s just the way it goes!) we’re talking lollies, soft drinks, ice-cream, chocolate bars etc. These simple carbs have little to no nutritional value (except that little burst of happiness which sometimes we all need – Nutella anyone!?.) But it’s not all rough news with simple carbs because there are some natural sources that are a much more nutrient dense choice. “Natures candy” as some call it – fruit is a fantastic alternative to some of our not so nutritious snack options above and it’ll give you the exact same buzz, just without the comedown!
These types of carbs are found in starchy foods, they are made up of longer chains of sugar molecules which means they are digested much slower than our simple carbs above, therefore providing a much more sustained energy level over a longer period of time. With these carbs, you also won’t see that quick spike in blood sugar levels – but it doesn’t mean all complex carbs are necessarily nutritious. There are both healthy and not so healthy options just like simple carbs.
The healthiest options for complex carbs are the least processed types of starches including whole grains, vegetables, legumes, brown rice, oats, potato, corn, and the list goes on, just think foods in their natural, whole state. These sources of carbs also provide a healthy amount of fibre which is going to keep your gut health happy!
On the other side, we have our processed complex carbs which include your potato chips, crackers, highly processed pastas and white breads etc. These processed complex carbs have a much lower nutritional value, they are low in fibre and most of their vitamins and minerals have been lost during processing. You might have heard people refer to “empty carbs” before – that’s basically what we are talking about with processed and refined complex carbs that have very little nutrients left.
The Battle of the CARBS
You might be thinking, so what does all this mean? Should I avoid simple carbs and everything processed? If that is sustainable for the rest of your life, then sure! But for most of us – it’s not and cutting out foods more often than not is going to lead to a massive binge when you reach the breaking point. You’ll feel guilty about overindulging, and so starts the vicious dieting cycle again.
Our tip? Stop cutting out certain foods. Simply, just eat them every now and then and don’t feel any guilt about eating something you love! For us, it’s ice cream, donuts, pizza… it’s a lot of things… but we don’t have them every day, we eat them as part of a balanced diet.
Life is too short to cut out food that you love, especially carbs. Enjoy that ice cream as well as your whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (just not together because that combo sounds full on!)
Carbs are important and so is your sanity. Eat mindfully and enjoy every bite of your food!