The answer to the question ‘are carbs good or bad for us’ is both simple and complex! There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbs (often labelled bad carbs) and complex carbs (labelled good carbs). In the past few years the reputation of carbohydrates has swung wildly. Some carbs are promoted as a healthy nutrient associated with lower risk of chronic disease while others are labelled ‘to be avoided’. The key to permanent fat loss and developing healthy eating habits is to eat few simple carbs and plenty of complex carbs. Fortunately it is easy to separate the good from the bad.
Why Do We Need Carbs In Our Diet?
Carbohydrates are the main energy source for our body. It is the energy that gets used first. Because carbohydrates are the first source of energy for our body without carbs protein from our muscles will be used meaning that our body will effectively eat its own muscles. Our body needs carbs for many bodily processes and to provide nutrients for the good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest our food. Researchers believe that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Eating good carbohydrates promotes fat loss. The fibre in complex carbs gives us feelings of satisfaction quicker than other foods and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Eating the right carbs can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good cholesterol).
Reap The Health Benefits of Good Carbs
We can reap the healthy benefits of good carbs by choosing carbohydrates that are full of fiber. These carbs are absorbed slowly into our system, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Good carbs are found in foods high in fiber, which breaks down slowly, giving us a steady blood sugar level throughout the day and making us feel less hungry and irritable.
- Fresh fruit
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Whole grains and food made from whole grains
- Non-sweetened dairy produce
Minimize The Health Risk Of Bad Carbs
We can minimize the health risk of bad carbs by eating fewer refined and processed carbohydrates that strip away the beneficial fiber. The more simple carbs we eat the faster the sugar ends up in our bloodstream and the more insulin gets released to control it. First the sugar is converted to glucose. The increased level of insulin tries to regulate the blood sugar level which leads to increased production of fat. This fat is pushed into the cells as storage for later use. When we eat too many simple carbs we increase the risk of fat gain, lower our energy levels and run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as other health problems.
- Fruit juice and dried fruit
- White potatoes
- Refined grains like white bread, white pasta, white rice
- Processed foods such as cake, candy, cookies, potato chips, corn chips
- Sweetened soft drinks
Choosing The Right Carbs Will Help Us Achieve Fat Loss
Exchange white grains for high fibre grains, by choosing brown rice, whole wheat pasta and noodles and whole grain bread. In order to lose fat we normally cut back on our portions, which often leads to hunger. High fiber foods are far more filling than the white variety, therefore we may have less pasta on our plate but because we switch to whole wheat pasta we will feel fuller on less. It takes a lot more fruit to equal the same number of calories in a candy bar, and one piece of fruit is more filling than one candy bar. A piece of fruit is also far more filling than a glass of fruit juice.
Cutting carbs may give us quick weight loss results; this is because we experience water and muscle loss, as well as some fat loss. Eating this way for life is unrealistic and the weight loss is subject to continuing to cut carbs. A diet that utilizes a more balanced approach is a long term solution for permanent fat loss, as it fits into life more realistically and will become a lifestyle.
In Conclusion Are Carbs Good Or Bad For Us?
In conclusion when we ask the question are carbs good or bad for us the answer is yes, carbs are both good and bad for us. Don’t cut carbs from your diet, choose good carbs. Choose carbs, in fact all food groups, that are as close to their natural state as possible. When in doubt choose carbs that are unprocessed or minimally processed.
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