Carbs, carbs, carbs – it is unfortunate that they have been given such a bad name.
Carbohydrates are the body’s most important source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, the sugar that is found in our blood. Our blood then takes on the responsibility to transport this fuel throughout our body, giving our bodies and brain the energy they need to function. Additionally, they’re good for the heart, help control blood sugar, and promote the ¨production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.¨ So why do people think carbohydrates are bad?
- They make you gain weight
- They’re all unhealthy
- Low-carb diets are the best way to lose weight
These are all FALSE. When it comes to weight gain, it isn’t just carbohydrates themselves that cause it. One of the main causes of weight gain is consuming more calories than what you burn in a day. So, what CAN cause weight gain is the over-consumption of carbohydrates. If your over-consumption of carbohydrates is causing you to take in more calories than you burn a day, that’s where the issue is.
If there is something for you to take away from this blog post, it is this:
NOT ALL CARBS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
There is a BIG difference between complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, etc. while simple carbohydrates are found in processed foods such as white bread, candy, soda, etc.
Complex carbohydrates are considered slow digesting and ¨trigger a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly. ¨ Research has shown that consuming more slow-digesting carbohydrates helps individual consume less calories throughout the day because they tend to feel less hungry when compared to digesting simple carbs. Also, because complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index when compared to simple carbohydrates, they tend not to raise blood sugar levels as much as simple carbohydrates do.
Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and do not provide the body with the same feeling of ¨fullness¨ as complex carbohydrates do. Because they are digested so quickly, they cause a spike in blood sugar. This spike in blood sugar often ¨leads to a blood sugar ‘crash’, leaving you hungry and craving more sugar. ¨ Additionally, simple carbohydrates lack fiber and nutrients.
Carbohydrates are essential for our bodies and minds to function, so do not be afraid of them! However, it is necessary to pay attention to what kind you are consuming. Low-carb diets are fairly popular right now but they are truly not sustainable. Instead, focus on providing your body with the fuel it needs. Incorporate more oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and fruits into your diet and you are on your way to improving your overall health. Eliminate or reduce your consumption of soda, cereal, sugar, and other simple carbs and you are sure to notice a difference!
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Main Photo: Read Between the Muffin
Good vs. Bad Carb Photo: Personal Excellence