Carbs: Good or Bad?

Hi Friends, happy Friday!

How are you all? Did you use the BMI-calculator that I put in my blog-post, last Friday? Did you fall in the Asian normal (or even western normal) range? If you did, great! Keep doing whatever you are doing.

If you didn’t fall into the normal healthy range, please start with some lifestyle modifications at the soonest so that you can nip any weight-related diseases/illnesses, in the bud only.

If you already are in early stages of any lifestyle-related disease or illness, don’t worry. If you take care now, majority of them are either reversed or easily managed. Don’t underestimate human body or nutrition!

I keep on writing about various things that one can do and about many others that we can take care of through our diets, to achieve our health and fitness goals. Whether you want to feel/look great or you simply want to manage certain medical issues, there is no easy way around. You have to start…and stay consistent. However, the good news is that it isn’t that hard either! You just need to give it 3 months and these good habits would take care of themselves after these initial three months. Why? You would know on your own, just try. It’s magic!

And when you do start to make lifestyle/diet/fitness related changes, make sure that you don’t treat the precious carbs as your worst enemies! Carbs or carbohydrates, are vital to us. They are the primary fuel-source for our body and our bodies are designed that way only. Any other way is neither natural nor sustainable for long!

What Exactly Are Carbs

One of the basic food groups (or macronutrients), carbohydrates are the sugar, starch and fibre component of any food that we eat. Almost every food that we eat has carbs in it.

In our body, sugar and starch is broken down for glucose, for energy. In human body, glucose is the main source of energy. This energy is required for our body to perform all daily activities. Each single cell, each of the vital functions of the internal organs as well as daily voluntary or involuntary actions that we do, need energy.

Dietary fibre doesn’t get broken down in our body however is needed for gut-bacteria as well as our digestive health.

Carbohydrates are divided into 3 types:

  • Monosaccharides – are simple sugars e.g. glucose. Other types of monosaccharides are galactose and fructose
  • Diasaccharides – When two monosaccharides form a bond e.g. lactose, maltose, sucrose
  • Polysaccharides – A long chain of monosaccharides e.g. starch, cellulose, glycogen etc.

Simple carbs are naturally present in fruits, veggies, milk, honey, white sugar etc as well as in the form of additional sugars that is added to most processed foods. Foods rich in starch and fibre can also be referred to as Complex carbs.

Now, coming to how carbs got a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss. We can divide carbs in two categories: good carbs and bad carbs, for the ease of understanding and to simplify it all.

Good carbs are present in high-fibre foods and our body takes a longer time to break them down. Examples of good carbs are – whole grains, products made of whole grains, vegetables and fruits (with the peels/skin whenever possible).

Foods that have a low fibre content are generally called bad carbs. Some examples are – white bread, white flour products, bakery items, cookies, fruit juices etc

Good Carb Sources

Not all carbs are same! However, one would not need to count carbs if one eats a diet full of whole veggies, whole fruits, legumes and whole grains. The fibre content makes all the difference, be it the soluble or insoluble kind.

Would I Gain Weight If I Eat Carbs?

As a person specializing in nutrition, I would not think of food – for weight loss alone or in terms of carbs only. Neither should a person interested in weight loss. It also is about the other nutrients that we get from the food that we eat. And carbs are NOT the “cause” for your weight gain!

Yes, too much of sugar can result into fat-deposits in our body but one can’t blame the entire food group ‘carbohydrate’ for it.

Personally, I never measure carbohydrates in my own daily diet. It is more about calories and nutrition, to be honest. Fibre is super important. As long as I am eating a well-balanced diet which has all the macronutrients including fibre, I am good. Same goes for everyone else!

Any diet which is low-carb might give you a jump-start in your weight loss plan however it is not sustainable in long run. Diets which are low-carb and high-fat, should be taken with proper care as the presence of unhealthy fat/oils in such foods might cause heart diseases later.

For long-term, our best bet is to stick with a balanced diet with everything in moderation. Diets rich in whole grain, veggies and fruits are the best and easiest to follow. They are nutrient-rich and are easily sustainable as well as enjoyable.

I hope that with this post today, you would know that carbs are vital for us and to cut them off completely, would be a bad idea. Rather stick to moderation and remember one thumb rule, “fibre is good”. Do join me on Instagram for many more mini-blogs and nutrition/health info in my daily stories!

Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

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