Facts and myths about carbohydrates

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“I don’t eat any carbs.” I can’t even say how often I hear this sentence from my clients. There is a widespread belief that if you want to lose weight and be healthy you have to limit your carb intake. But is it really true? No exactly…

Unfortunately, thanks to misleading information about nutrition a lot people assume that bread, rice or potatoes make them fat. Of course a diet rich in refined carbs such as white flour, white bread, donuts, biscuits, cakes, lollies, candy and soft drinks leads to weight gain; it can also increase the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and can have a negative affect on our mental health. Sugar is also addictive. The more sugar we eat, the more we crave it. The best way to eliminate this craving is to cut sugar completely from our diet or limit consumption to a minimum.

Let’s have a look why carbs are good for our body and health, what kind of carbs we should choose, and what the common myths are about carbs.

 

SIMPLE CARBS 

These give you a quick burst of energy as they are rapidly digested.

Choose:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Honey and maple syrup (in moderation)

Advice: A combination of carbs with protein will give you energy you need, keep you fuller longer and help you to stabilize your blood sugar level. So add some Greek yogurt into your fresh fruit salad or enjoy your favorite piece of fruit with handful of raw nuts.

Avoid:

  • Table sugar
  • Soft drinks
  • Corn sugar
  • Candy etc.

 

COMPLEX CARBS

These take all day to burn through your system and they provide you with steady energy for a few hours. Eating complex carbs for breakfast will help you avoid mid-morning and afternoon slumps.

Choose:

  • Green vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens, chard, broccoli, cucumber)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, corn)
  • Legumes (peas, beans, lentils, chick peas, soybeans)
  • Whole grains and foods made from them (brown and wild rice, wholegrain pasta, whole meal bread, oats, quinoa etc.)

Avoid:

  • White flour
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Baked goods (muffins, donuts, cakes, pies etc.)
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Quick oats

 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Whole food sources of carbohydrates are rich in dietary fiber which help improve your digestion, keep your blood sugar level stable and promote healthy weight. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy and they help you to optimize your metabolism. Certain carbs like oats, pumpkin, bananas and brown rice may have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep. Our brain also needs carbs for its optimal function. Carbs help to improve our concentration, balance the nervous system and boost our mood.

 

MYTHS

“Carbohydrates make you fat.”

“You can’t eat carbs for your dinner.”

“Low carb diet is perfect for weight loss.”

“You can’t eat any fruit if you want to lose weight.”

Low carb diets became very popular recently and a lot of people think that avoiding carbs is the best and easiest way to achieve your dream body. In the beginning of my healthy lifestyle journey, my husband and I tried a low carb diet together. It worked quite well for Roman; after a few weeks he lost a couple kilos but he was tired during the day and less productive in his job. On the other side I felt really terrible. I felt sick physically and mentally, with no energy and I could feel the lower back pain. That was the point when I realized that this is not the diet for me and started to educate myself, so in the end this experience was very helpful. And what I want to tell you: No, low carb diets are not the best choice! A Low carb diet can be actually dangerous for you and may negatively affect your health. The lack of carbs may increase your risk of kidney stones, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. So don’t be scared of carbs. The right carbs are good friends which will provide you energy and help you feel healthy, amazing and happy.

So remove bananas, corn or potatoes from the black list and enjoy and love your carbs. Cheers :).

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