Due to the popularity of low-carb diets, “carbs” has become a dirty word, especially for those who are dieting. Popular low-carb diets, like Atkins and South Beach diet, has ingrained the mantra of “carbs are bad” into our brains. But, are carbs really as bad as Dr. Atkins says? The truth is not all carbs are created equally. Carbohydrates are a very broad food category. Depending on the type and amount of carbs in our diet, carbs can be essential to maintaining a healthy weight.
What exactly are carbs?
Carbohydrates are essential to our diets because they are the body’s main source of energy. Carbs are one of three macronutrients, which is a nutrient that makes up the main part of our diet, found in food- the other two being fats and protein. There are three types of carbohydrates: starch, fiber and sugar. Carbs are important for maintaining your health for a number of reasons:
As we mentioned, carbs are the body’s main source of fuel in a well-balanced diet. The body naturally breaks down most carbs into glucose or sugar before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Your body uses glucose for energy for activities from breathing to running.
- Healthy Digestion
Vegetables, starchy whole-grain foods and potatoes with their skin still on are good sources of fiber. Fiber is an essential component to a well-balanced diet. Fiber helps regulated good bowel health, reduce the risk of constipation and lower cholesterol levels.
- Reduce Calorie Intake
Most carbs contain fewer calories gram for gram than fats. Starchy whole-grained foods are a good source of fiber, which means they are a useful part in loosing weight. Replace fatty and sugar foods with ones that are high in fiber and you will most likely reduce your calorie intake. Also, high fiber foods help you feel full because they add bulk to your meal
So, Should You Cut out Carbs?
Eliminating an entire food group, such as starchy foods, not only puts your health at risk, but also cuts out the body’s main source of energy, which can lead to health problems. Without carbohydrates its may be hard to get enough fiber. Be sure to incorporate healthy sources of carbs such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, starchy foods and dark product, which are also high in important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins.