There seems to continue to be a constant battle with carbs. They are totally excluded in fad diets, and some are listed as one of the major food sources for certain chronic diseases. When choosing for it to be a friend or foe, most are choosing it to be a foe. Let’s say this together in harmony, carbs are not the enemy! White bread, whole grain bread, candy, fruits, vegetables, and honey are all carbs. Now from this list there is as least one item that you can say with 100% confidence that we need it everyday.
But let’s take it back to my article of diets are not one size fits all, which if you haven’t read please check it out here. We need to continue to keep in mind that moderation is key! Too much of anything is usually never optimal, and each individual is their own person. Everyone needs to do what they have to, to accommodate their own goals, lifestyles, and health concerns. Keep this is mind, but let’s get back to our friend carbohydrates.
Isn’t A Carb Just Bread And Pasta?
So what even is a carbohydrate? Carbohydrates are one of the main macronutrients the body needs (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). It is also the main source of energy for the body. This is why the largest percentage of our daily calories should come from carbs. Our bodies, and mainly our brains need carbohydrates to function optimally. Carbs are broken down into glucose and then transported through the body as fuel, to do everything you need to do including sleep. Carbs are not all made equally, they are divided into simple and complex carbs. What makes the difference between complex and simple carbs is how quickly it’s digested and absorbed into the body, and its chemical structure.
Complex carbs are absorbed and digested in the body more slowly, and have a lower glycemic index, which actually aids in regulating insulin levels due to its fiber content.
Simple carbs do include foods with refined sugars such as candy, soda, syrup, and chips. Due to their high-glycemic index they tend to spike your blood sugar levels. This is what most know to be a carb making it more of the enemy. Not all simple carbs are unhealthy! Some healthy unrefined simple carbs include fruits, honey, and dairy all loaded with vitamins and minerals, and provide a healthy boost of energy!
Why Should I Make Carbs My Friend?
Regulate Insulin Levels/Weight Maintenance
High fiber complex carbs help to slow down the spike of blood sugar levels. The high fiber also helps to keep you satisfied longer, and have a lesser chance of overeating.
Increase HDL Levels (Healthy Cholesterol)
Healthier carbohydrates with whole grains and fiber can help lower your cholesterol, and some of these carbs include high in soluble fiber include kidney beans, oatmeal, barley, pears, apples and prunes
Increase Fiber Intake
Majority of Americans do not meet their daily needs of fiber, and without taking additional dietary supplements there is only one way to reach this – increase your intake of complex carbohydrates. Increase in plant foods such as fruits and vegetables will up that fiber intake, decrease risk for heart disease, promote weight control, and event prevent cancers like colon cancer.
Daily Nutritional Needs
Adults should be getting most of their daily nutritional needs from carbohydrates, being 45% to 65% of your daily calories.
Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount, read the fine print, make the right choice, and get the right kinds to meet my individual needs!