Hey guys ❤️ how are you doing? I hope everyone is doing well and that you clicked on this because you don’t actually believe that carbs are EVIL – because they’re not! Today I thought I’d discuss this topic because I’m asked about carbs every other day and I feel that there is a lot of confusion surrounding this topic.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of many low-carb or even no-carb diets and I am the first to admit that I will cut down on highly refined and processed carbs when I want to lose some weight or when I’m feeling bloated. But that in no way means that I will cut carbs completely, it just means I’ll choose wisely.
Here’s a little insight about carbohydrates…
The term CARBOHYDRATES is an umbrella term covering a very vast array of foods. In many cases, foods are not simply carbohydrates, protein or fat – they are often a combination of there macronutrients.
We refer to foods as ‘carbs’ when the food in question is predominantly made up of this particular macronutrient. However just keep in mind that they are often not present in isolation.
There are MANY foods that fall under the umbrella term ‘CARBS’ but there are many differences between the different foods that are all classifies within this category.
Did you know that ALL fruit and veg are carbs? Vegetables are lower in carbs than fruit because they contain far less sugar. However, still, if we had to classify veggies under one term, that would be CARBS.
A LOT of highly nutritious foods are predominantly made up of carbohydrates, many not-so-healthy foods contain a large amount of carbohydrates too.
So, how to we choose?
Before I actually studied nutrition, I always thought that bread, pasta and sugar are carbs – and they are. But I never thought about any other foods that fall under the term too.
Carbohydrates are a very important macronutrient and are one of the main sources of energy our bodies need. So in truth, the important thing is to choose the right carbs and certainly not avoid them completely.
Refined Carbohydrates VS. Complex / Unrefined Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and send immediate bursts of glucose (energy / sugar) into the blood stream. That’s why you may feel a rush of energy when you eat a dessert, only to be followed by a crash of fatigue when that sudden burst of energy is quickly used by the body.
Simple sugars are found in refined sugars, like plain white sugar and any foods containing it (especially in large quantities e.g. sweets, chocolate, biscuits etc). Added sugar (including refined sugars) provide calories, but lack vitamins, minerals and fiber; all of which are incredibly important for a healthy diet therefore added sugars / simple sugars should be kept to a minimum.
But again, not all simple sugars are created equal. There are also simple sugars in more nutritious foods, like fruit and milk. These are “naturally occurring”sugars and, unlike refined sugars, these sugars often come with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that our bodies need.
Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and supply a lower more steady release of glucose into the blood stream. As with simple sugars, some complex carbohydrate foods are better choices than others.
Refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, have been processed, which removes many nutrients and fiber. Many foods containing refined grains like white flour, sugar and white rice lack B vitamins and other important nutrients unless they’re marked “enriched.” By contrast, unrefined / complex whole grains retain many of these vital nutrients and are rich in fiber, which helps your digestive system work well. Fiber helps you feel full, so you are less likely to overeat these foods.
Complex carbohydrates are a better choice for our health however this in no way means that you cannot enjoy refined carbohydrates (like your favourite dessert) in moderation. Making really easy swaps like using whole grain pasta, rice and crackers and snacking on healthy carbs like fruit and veg is an easy way to ensure you’re eating more of the healthier carbs while still enjoying some simple carbs within your diet also.
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