The Truth About Carbohydrates – What Are They and Are They Important?

There’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to carbs and fats, especially when it comes to weight loss. A lot of people think cutting out carbs and fats is necessary for health and especially weight loss, but is that really the best thing for you? Today we are going to take a look at the truth behind this information and what’s best for our bodies.

Quite often when people refer to cutting carbs they are referring to the foods like pasta and bread. However a lot of them also don’t realise they are still eating a lot of natural carbs through the dairy, fruits and vegetables that they consume. So when it comes to carbs, how important are they for your health journey? What exactly are carbs?

Macronutrients educational diet scheme with carbs, protein and fats outline concept. Food chart with product examples vector illustration. Dieting and healthy eating diagram with balanced ingredients.

What are Carbs?

Carbs are sugar molecules, along side proteins and fats, carbs are on of the three main nutrients that are found in food and drinks and very important for our body to be able to function properly. Your body breaks down carbs into glucose (blood sugar) which is the main energy source for your body’s cells, tissues and organs. Glucose will either be used immediately or stored in the liver and muscles for later use.

Types of Carbs

There are three main types of carbs which are sugars, starches and fiber.

Sugars:
Sugars are also known as simple carbs as they are in the most basic form. They can be added to foods such as sugar that’s put into candy, desserts, processed foods etc. However they also include natural sugars such as those that are found in fruits, vegetables and milk.

Starches:
These are more complex carbs than the sugars. Starches are made of lots of simple sugars strung together. Your body needs to break these down into sugars in order to be able to use them for energy. Starches include bread, cereals and pasta, but they also include certain vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn.

Fiber:
This is another complex carb, but most fiber cannot be broken down by your body. This means eating foods with fiber can help you to feel full which will make it less likely that you’ll overeat. High fiber diets can have other health benefits such as preventing stomach or intestinal problems like constipation. They can also help with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Fiber is found many of the foods that come from plants such as nuts, seeds, beans and whole-grains.

The Truth – Importance of Carbs

The truth is that carbs are very important for the body in many ways for your health, the body’s productivity and even successful weight loss if that is something you’re after in your journey. Carbs are our bodies main souse of energy, especially during high intensity activities. But you must consume the right carbs, healthy more natural carbs rather than the processed. Healthy carb food sources include things like fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads and pastas.

Another thing to be aware of is the affect carbs have the rest of your body. Your brain and red blood cells rely almost completely on carbs for fuel. This means that if you’re depriving your body of carbs you are severely decreasing your physical and mental health. By cutting out a lot of those foods you are also limiting your intake of many important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber which are important for you to maintain good health.

When it comes to carbs it’s not just a simple straight forward thing to figure out though. Carbs vary a lot in terms of their nutrient density. Something like a green bean, which is a good source of fibre, protein and other vitamins and minerals is still considered a carb which offers much more benefits than something like a slice of white bread which offers virtually nothing other than straight carbs.

Fats also play a vital part in assisting people meet the energy needs of their body, not only that but fats also help with keeping healthy hormone levels. Healthy sources of fat include nuts, nut butters, avocados, olive and coconut oils.

For optimal results you should ensure that you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. At least five servings per day should be consumed; one serving is approximately the size of a baseball. These servings should include a variety of fruit and vegetable colour. Not only do fruits and vegetables give you the energy and nutrients which are required for training and recovery, but they are also rich in antioxidants which will help your body combat illness like colds and flus.

Whole grain carb sources are the better option for your body. These include things such as whole-wheat bread or pasta and cereals that are rich in fiber, these food sources will give your body excellent sources of energy. It is important to limit the refined grains and sugars you consume, such as sugary cereals, white breads and bagels. Whole-grain foods will give you much more energy and are much healthier for your body.

If you are also exercising on your health journey then it is very important to stay hydrated as well. It only takes as little as a two-percent drop in your hydration levels and your performance can be negatively impacted, so staying hydrated is extremely important. However, there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to hydration, especially around exercise. People saying things like “you must drink water” and “keep up your water intake” but water isn’t the only source for hydration. In fact studies show that even drinking milk can be as beneficial for hydration as water can be. Other options include 100 percent fruit juice and sports drinks. Although it’s important to remember that sports drinks and fruit juice are usually higher in overall sugar content; it’s also important to remember that sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade should not be confused wit energy drinks such as Monsters or Red Bulls.

If carbs are restricted Then your ability for exercising is going to be compromised and you won’t be able to reach peak performance or get optimal results. There are times when a low carb diet can be good for you. Such as needing to reset your body and clean it out of toxins etc. But it not something that should ever be maintained for a prolonged period of time. No more than a month should be necessary for a low carb diet. Except where it is required for certain health conditions, but that is something that should always be discussed with a health professional, not a decision made on your own.

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