Hi friends, how was the week that went by?
A little more chaotic than usual for me as my laptop’s keyboard got stuck and now I am working with a borrowed keyboard. My help announced that she is going on a leave for a week. Can’t even tell you how crazy it is at home, many a times, right now!! Anyways, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
A few of you have asked me about a very popular diet-concept which works on low-carb and high-fat concept. I am sorry I have never gone that route and I can’t say if it is a good choice in general. My only problem with fad-diets is that they are not sustainable for long. Calorie deficit and moderation concepts have worked for me so well that I do not need to restrict my diet in any way. I prefer that. It’s fun and healthy!!
However, I can tell you about carbs/carbohydrates today and you can make the choice yourself 😊
What Are Carbs?
In nutrition terms, carbs or carbohydrates to be precise, are one of the three macro-nutrients – the other two being protein and fat. Each has a unique role to play within our body!
Carbs can be divided into three broad categories:
- Sugar – We all understand sugar. Sweet in taste and short-chained carbohydrates. Sugar is a huge category in itself and is pretty vast. I have already written in detail so would leave it today. Read this post here, here and here to understand sugar better if you want
- Starch – These are long-chained glucose molecules. Our body’s digestive system further breaks these down into simple glucose molecules
- Fibre – Fibres can be soluble or insoluble. Our body can’t digest fibres mostly however these are very important for many other reasons especially good digestive health
Types Of Carbs
Carbohydrates are further divided into Simple and Complex carbs:
- Simple carbs are found in sugary stuff including sugary drinks, juices, baked goods, white breads/pastas/rice etc. It includes no natural fibre and is mostly highly processed. Considered unhealthy in general
- Complex carbs are found in whole fruits, vegetables, pulses/legumes and whole grains. These are generally healthy in nature
Did You Know?
Technically, our bodies can survive on zero carbs. A few fad-diets rely on this technicality. Our brain can use ketones for energy in emergency. Ketones are made of fats.
However, just because it is not essential doesn’t mean our bodies doesn’t need them or we should skip them! Lot of carb-containing foods are healthy and contain so many nutrients that skipping them is a bad idea!
Why Do We Need Carbs?
The main purpose of carbs in out diet is to provide our body with energy. It is our body’s main fuel source. Our body is capable of breaking down carbohydrates in to simple glucose molecules to be used as energy. Our body also stores excess carbs as fat, for use when needed later.
Fiber can’t be digested in our body except for by some gut-bacteria and these bacteria can produce fatty acid from this fiber, for energy again.
Which are Good Carbs?
As a thumb rule, good carbs are with natural fibre intact and these are healthy. Non-processed and whole!
These are essential for human body and are rich in nutrients, without most of the disadvantages associated with bad carbs e.g. fresh veggies (including potatoes and sweet potatoes), whole fruits, yoghurt, milk, nuts, seeds, whole grains (including brown rice), legumes/pulses etc
Moderation is the keyword.
And Which Are Bad Carbs?
- Associated with many health problems including Type 2 diabetes and obesity-related illnesses and many chronic diseases
- Provide empty calories
- Cause insulin spikes and crashes
All the sugary drinks including juices, bakery items, biscuits, ice-creams, chocolates, candies, breads, pastas and anything that falls under the category of junk-food. Avoid these or indulge occasionally only, if you have to!
In The End
Every body’s carb requirements are different. Don’t think of carbs as plain calories. Your carb-intake should depend upon your individual goals and requirements. If weight loss or managing a specific health concern is your goal, your carb-intake should be regulated. However, if you are a healthy person, you need your carbs – just make sure you get your carbs from healthy, wholesome sources – rich in fibre, protein, vitamin and minerals!
Sudden and drastic cut in carbs can result in headaches, bad breath, cramps, fatigue, rashes and upset digestive system. If you choose to highly regulate your carb intake and experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please see the doctor immediately.
Remember, it’s the type and quantity you eat, not the carbohydrates themselves!
If you liked today’s post, do share it with people you think might benefit from it. Till next Friday,
Hugs, Health and Peace