Myths about carbs you should stop believing....
Carbs are not as evil for you as you think, and they're loaded in plenty of healthy foods. Carbs have always been the enemy to people wanting to lose weight. I even believed cutting them from my diet was the way to lose body fat years ago, and it’s taken me years of research and personal experience to understand how to eat a healthy, balanced diet to be able to maintain a certain weight and body shape.
There’s also a lot of confusion around what carbs really are. Firstly, they are a much larger food group that goes beyond white bread and pizza! Research has shown that dietary fiber found in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies (yes these are all carbs) are necessary to maintain a normal weight, healthy heart and to keep your digestive system regular.
Here, I will debunk some of the major misconceptions about carbs and how to incorporate the right ones into your diet. And if you’re not already convinced, here are more signs you should be eating wholesome carbs on a regular basis...
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that your body breaks down into glucose (a type of sugar) There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple and complex. Simple carbs are found mainly in fruits and vegetables, but also in refined (processed) grains, cakes, biscuits and other baked goods.
Complex carbs are found in wholegrain bread and pasta as well as beans, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. Carbs are necessary for your body to produce energy!
The carbs that you want to be eating are unrefined, whole grains, because these are what give you the necessary nutrients, like fiber, to digest and sustain energy. Eating nourishing, filling, whole grains won’t wreck your diet; it’s the unhealthy ones you want to avoid.
Carbs can actually help people lose or maintain a healthy weight. The reason being is the fibre content in carbs. Fibre keeps you full and energised, otherwise, you won’t have enough fuel in your body for exercise, a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight.
Yes, overeating white bread and pizza aren’t going to help anyone lose weight, but that’s not what we’re talking about here, in terms of high-fiber, whole foods. Plus, limiting carbs means loading up on proteins and fats, which are much higher in calories so that would add to weight gain instead of the carbs themselves.
If you’re worried about your sugar intake your best bet is to stick to the natural sugars found in fruits rather than the processed white stuff that hides in many cereal, biscuits, cakes, and other snacks. Even whole grains, for example wholemeal bread, still breaks down into sugar in the body. The difference is that it won’t make your blood sugar spike and crash like refined grains will. Cutting out added sugar to your tea or cereal, will also help blast fat and boost energy levels and mood.
Onto the topic of gluten! Despite their mutual association with bread, pasta, and other grains; gluten and carbs aren’t necessarily the same thing. Gluten is a protein found in many wheat products and flours, but it’s also in sauces, dressings, and processed meats. It can cause discomfort in many gluten-sensitive people, especially those with celiac disease, but that’s not to say that all carbs have gluten. If you can’t tolerate gluten, it’s best to stick to fibre rich, gluten free grains such as quinoa and brown rice, as well as vegetables, fruits, and beans.
But if you aren’t gluten intolerant, there’s no need to eliminate it from your diet. People who follow a gluten-free diet but aren’t gluten intolerant or don’t have celiac disease have a greater risk for heart disease, because they aren’t consuming enough whole grains.
The right kind of healthy carbs are necessary to give immediate energy, especially before you exercise. If you’re planning to exercise in the late afternoon, I would suggest a small bowl of of wholegrain pasta or rice for lunch with some veggies, tuna or other protein in it, at least two hours before your workout.
How many times have you heard someone say “eat more protein, cut out the carbs!” ?
Yes, protein is essential, especially if you lead an active lifestyle and are constantly training your muscles, but carbs can’t be ignored in relation to protein.
Carbs and protein work together harmoniously. Focus on eating a combination of carbs, protein and vegetables at least twice a day.
Just remember, if you want to lose body fat or maintain a normal, healthy body weight, just focus on eating a combination of whole grain carbs, lean proteins, lots of vegetables and some fruit. Stick to the 80/20 rule that I’ve mentioned before (eat healthy 80% of the time and treat yourself 20% of the time) and you’ll do just fine....
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