Even though low-carb or carb-free diets are extremely popular right now, removing all carbohydrates from your body can actually damage your health, causing you to miss out on vital nutrients.
Your body needs carbohydrates to function properly. Surprisingly, carbohydrates are key to achieving and maintaining a slim waistline and healthy weight. Your body uses carbs to fuel your activities throughout the day and get you through those calorie-burning workouts.
According to The Nutrition Source of the Harvard School of Public Health, “Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity...The healthiest sources of carbohydrates--unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans--promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fibre, and a host of phytonutrients.”
So, it isn’t whether to eat carbs or not. The question should be, what kind of carbs to eat. Unhealthy carbs are in foods like sugary pastries, soft drinks, foods that have been over-processed or super-refined, white bread, or pasta made with white flour. Filling your plate with these high-calorie, low-nutrient carbs could lead to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.
Other carbohydrates, like those found in fruits and veggies, are packed with nutrients, but do not contain a lot of calories. Foods made with whole grains and low-fat dairy have a balanced amount of nutrients and calories.
For a healthy, well-balanced diet skip the carbs that include added sugars, white flour, or refined grains and focus on eating a variety of carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends making 45-65% of your daily calories come from carbs, depending on your activity level.
It can be difficult to remove fattening carbs from your diet. In fact, you could be addicted to them! A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who drank a milkshake packed with sugar, showed a higher amount of activity in the pleasure centre of their brain for four hours after they finished their milkshake. Your body experiences pleasure from eating carbs and then feels the withdrawal once the carbs are gone, causing you to crave unhealthy carbohydrates.
To curb your cravings, try combining a few sweet carbs with protein, like a trail mix of dark chocolate with almonds, low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple, or Greek yogurt topped with dried fruit.
Need more reasons to add healthy carbs to your diet?
Eating carbs at breakfast will help you get rid of fat. A study reported in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating “slow-release” carbs, like oatmeal, 3 hours before your workout could increase your fat burn. These carbs don’t cause blood sugar spikes, so your body is not signalled to store food as fat.
Eating carbs improves your memory. A Tufts University study found that women who ate a low-carb diet for a week performed poorly on memory testing, compared to women who ate a low-calorie diet.
Carbs from whole grains can make your heart healthier. Multiple studies have demonstrated that people who eat carbs from whole grains have higher good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
The bottom line: Ignore carb-cutting regimens! Enjoy a well-balanced diet, including healthy carbs, to get the fuel and nutrients your body needs.
SOURCES: https://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/carbs-love-story-why-ok-eat-them-143600755.html;https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/; Image courtesy of posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net