Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs: Are you Eating The Wrong Ones?
If you’ve ever been on a diet or read any of the latest fad diets, you would no doubt have heard of the evils of carbohydrates. Most diets explicitly forbid you from eating them. Because of this, people have stayed away from them, and are generally paranoid the moment they hear the word “carbs.” Because bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes and many other food favorites are termed as high carbohydrate sources, you end up having to give up everything you love eating. However, not many people have enough knowledge about carbohydrates to make the right decision. So, what are carbohydrates? Why are they so mysterious? And are they really so bad for you?
What Are Carbohydrates?
First let’s get something clear, carbs are not the enemy. Yes, you read that right, carbohydrates are not completely bad for you. They are actually essential for your body to function normally.
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that your body needs. Think of carbs like a fuel source. Along with essential fats and sources of high quality protein, carbs are what allow you to carry on living our normal life. They provide energy, and help cells functioning.
There are three types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fiber. When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts it into glucose. It is then absorbed into the blood stream with the help of insulin, giving your cells an energy boost. Carbohydrates are found in plenty of food sources from fruits and vegetables to processed foods.
Are They Important?
When an olympic athlete is preparing for a sporting event like a marathon or a sprint, they increase their carbohydrate intake up to three times the recommended daily limit. This is because they train so intensively that they burn through the extra carbs. If they tried to train at similar level without the increased carb intake their body would not be able to cope and they would black out.
A short term carbohydrate deficiency could lead to a drop in energy levels. If carried out over a longer period it can lead to severe health problems, like drop in blood sugar levels, loss of muscle mass, extreme weight loss and a weakened immune system.
So What Carbs Are Good For You?
Complex carbohydrates can be considered good carbs. Complex carbs are carbs that your body absorbs slowly. The less a food has been processed and refined, the better. They are also considered healthier because they are high in fiber and offer more nutritional value. For example: Eating a whole orange trumps drinking a glass of orange juice. Refining a natural grain like rice strips it of its natural nutrients and gives you empty carbohydrate calories, which is why brown rice is much healthier than white rice.
And What Are Bad Carbohydrates?
Simple carbs (i.e., carbs that offer little more than immediate sugar absorption into the blood stream) are considered bad sources. Processed foods, like your favorite junk foods, sodas and candy are all part of the bad carbs group. Because they have been processed endlessly with food coloring, artificial flavoring and more, they lose most of their nutritional value. Thus, the products that you end up with are full of empty calories.
Now that you are aware of the differences between good and bad carbohydrates, make sure to pay close attention to your diet. Include as many complex carbohydrates as you can and keep simple carbs to a minimum. This will pay dividends in the short and long term and help you achieve a healthier, leaner body.
At Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, we offer 5 chef prepared menus that include a low carb option. Our chefs work closely with our in house Registered Dietitian to make sure all of our meals are nutritionally balanced. By listing our macros on our website as well as My Fitness Pal, you are able to see the breakdown of fat, protein, and carbs.
Start eating right today and get 10% OFF your first order by using promo code BLOGJUN10 at checkout. You’ll thank us for it later!