Carbohydrates are a topic of much contention. Everyone wants that slightly flatter stomach, but is eliminating carbs really the answer? Skip the pseudo science, let’s delve into the truth about carbs.
The Atkens diet is one of many that sings the praises of a carb free or low carb diet. While short term this may help you lose weight, long term it is not sustainable.
Not having enough carbs wrecks havoc on your brain, energy levels, and can leave you in a state of ketosis where your blood sugar runs riot. Cue bad breath, grumpiness and constipation. Not quite what you were after? Let’s re-evaluate that carb eating.
Our body actually needs carbohydrates to function. They provide glucose, which is a vital source of energy for our bodies.
But carbs make us fat?
This is a huge myth and misconception. Carbs can be a great comfort food, we like them... A lot. This can lead to a tendency to overeat them. If you overeat anything you will put on weight. It’s all about portion size. Carbs will not make you put on weight if you keep that portion size in check. Typically a portion of carbs should be the size of your fist.
Not all carbs are created equally
You may visualise white bread and starchy pastas but fruit and vegetables are carbs too. Not to mention quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. It’s all about the types of carbs you’re consuming. Carbs high in white sugar and low in fiber such as cookies, white bread, chips will kick off cravings, set your blood sugar peaking and make you hungrier. Try consume carbs that are high in fiber. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed by the body slowly, meaning they’ll keep you full for longer. Choose this type of carbohydrates.
The proof is in the pudding
Heard of the Blue Zones? It’s a mix of countries such as Greece, Sardinia, Japan and Costa Rica. Here people are proven to on average have the greatest life longevity. Would you be surprised to learn their diets are very carb heavy? Yet they have such low rates of degenerative and chronic diseases. Interestingly lots of the countries with the lowest obesity rates eat a lot of carbs such as many South East Asian countries.
So carbs are not the bad guys. The key seems to be in the balance. Not too little, not too much and the right kind. It’ll give you energy, a balanced blood sugar and an active mind.
Like with most of our articles on food we tend to come back to the same results. Eat a balanced diet with fiber, protein and good fats. Try minimise processed foods. Cook from scratch where you can. Eat mostly plants. Eat plenty of wholegrains, fruits and nuts. Most of all enjoy what and how you eat. Seemingly simple... Happy eating.