Why do Carbs get such a bad wrap? We are told we need to avoid carbs or follow a "LOW" carb diet in order to look and feel well. They are often blamed for weight gain. Why??
Very simply, Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that your body turns into energy to function.
Why are they important? Here are just a few reasons;
- they provide quick energy for the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and heart muscles.
- (certain carbs; ie: Fiber) help aid in digestion, make you feel full, and support cholesterol levels.
- reduce cortisol (stress) & improve sleep
- support thyroid hormone conversion
Now there are plenty of reasons they are important, but we also need to clarify that there are GOOD carbs (aka Complex) vs BAD carbs (aka Simple). This goes back to whole foods vs processed foods. So when in doubt ALWAYS go for the most natural food options, as they are the healthiest and provide your body with the best nutrients.
BAD carbs are carbohydrates that are are high in calories, low in essential nutrients and highly processed. They are stripped from the grain and all the beneficial nutrients your body needs as well as make your glucose levels spike quickly and make you feel hungry quicker.
Bad/Simple Carbs (Try to avoid):
- refined flour products (pasta, white bread, etc)
- baked goods (donuts, cakes, muffins)
- potato chips, pretzels, etc
- Juices & Soda
Good/Complex Carbs (To incorporate):
- Starchy Vegetables
- Lentils & Beans
- Whole Grains (quinoa, oats, etc)
So - Don't fall into the "I can't eat carbs" fad. You NEED carbs. They are an important staple to your diet and nutrients your body needs to properly function. Being mindful about your food and understanding why certain types of foods are better than others is key. So go and enjoy your GOOD/COMPLEX carbs.