New diets are popping up for weight loss and health. With the new trends, some diets have labeled carbohydrates as completely unnecessary and even dangerous. This statement is very extreme and does not do justice to carbohydrates. From one carbohydrate group to another there is a huge difference. Carbohydrates are necessary for the energy of the body, and certain types of carbs should be welcomed in a weight loss regime.
What is a carb?
Carbohydrates are one of the three main types of macronutrients found in our diet. Foods that come from natural resources rarely contain only carbohydrates, fats, or proteins. Whole foods contain different proportions of these nutrients within themselves with one or two of them in larger proportions. Carbohydrates can be divided into three different types.
Sugars are one of the reasons that carb gets such a bad reputation. Most of the sugars available on the market today are known as free sugars. They are sugars that are added to sweets that people purchase like drinks, chocolates, cereals, and all other kinds of sweet treats. There are also sugars that come from natural sources. These include honey, different syrups, and fruit juices.
Starch is another food element that falls in the carbohydrate group. It is contained in many plant foods and gives them a thick and satiating texture. Starch carbohydrates consist of grains, potatoes, and rice. Starch is broken by the body at slower rates and releases energy throughout the day, unlike free sugars.
Fibers are the compounds that are found on the cells walls of plants. Fibers are found in large quantities in the skins of vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, and pulses. Fibers are essential for a health diet.
Why are carbohydrates important?
Carbohydrates are one of the main food groups in our diets. Here are the reasons why carbohydrates are important to health.
Carbohydrates are a ready source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates are broken down the quickest by the body and give it fuel for its functions. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (simple sugar) and then absorbed into the blood. Through insulin receptors, this glucose enters the cells of the body and gives them the energy to carry out their functions.
Glucose is the fuel that gives you the energy to go out, train, or just go about your daily activities. The glucose that was not used during the day is not lost. It is converted to glycogen by the liver and stored as fat by the body.
Carb foods like vegetables and whole grains are a rich source of fiber. Fiber is important for good bowel health as it prevents constipation. Fiber also lowers cholesterol levels.
Carbohydrates have fewer calories than fat does and more fiber. The lower calorie intake and higher fiber intake maintains a good weight. Fiber-rich foods are also a great way to bulk up your meals and make you feel satiated and full for a longer period of time.
Cutting Carbohydrates Out of Your Diet
Many diets are proposing that people cut out all forms of carbohydrates. There are a couple of reasons for this. Here are the reasons why people cut out carbohydrates from their diet and what the facts are.
Carbohydrates Makes One Fat
The truth is that each diet blames a different part of your diet for weight gain. Carbohydrates are welcomed by the body, and the reason that people gain weight from them is because they eat too much of them. Additionally, most of the carbohydrates that people gain weight from are highly refined carbs that do not much fiber. Carbohydrates have been associated with weight gain because they are contained in snacks, sweets, and unhealthy food. Nutrient-rich carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and grains are not unhealthy and can be consumed in recommended amounts for the body to have the energy it needs.
Cutting carbohydrates is the only way to lose weight
It is true that low-carbohydrate diets help you lose weight fast in the beginning. However, most of the time this type of diet is not sustainable. This is because the body is dependent on glucose from carbohydrates for fuel all the organs including the brain. If the body does not get enough carbs, it begins burning fat and goes into a state of ketosis. While the keto diet aims for this, it brings undesirable effects for the body like bad breath and chronic constipation.
How many carbohydrates should be consumed?
A piece of healthy advice from the Eatwell Guide recommends that a third of the diet should be comprised of starch- and fiber-rich foods. Another third should be made exclusively to fruits and vegetables. This makes more than half of the daily calorie consumption.
Getting More Fiber in Your Diet
Often people wonder what types of foods contain more fiber and how they can get more of it into their daily portions. The advice that is readily given by dieticians is consuming a minimum of 30g of fiber daily. This means eating more starchy foods with their skins or brans on. Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of fiber.
Like all nutritional advice, it is best to stick to the golden middle. Too much or too little of anything is not necessarily healthy. It is important to get just enough carbs to get you fueled and energized for the day. The type of carbohydrates also makes all the difference. You want to go for carbohydrates that have a high nutritional value like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for RightFit Personal Training. She often produces content for a variety of health blogs.