Oh carbs. Public enemy number one.
For some reason carbohydrates have become the devil incarnate, especially in the dieting world. However, sometimes I think the true meaning of carb gets lost somewhere between Instagram vloggers and Dad’s old Atkins Diet book.
Let’s start at square one. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient, just like fat and protein. They include sugars, starches, and fibers. There are simple-carbohydrates and complex-carbohydrates, all depending on the makeup and the breakdown of the carb.
Not all carbs are good and not all carbs are bad. However, some carbs are better for you than others. The key is finding the right balance between the two and eating for your specific health needs.
- Many carbs contain Tryptophan, which aids in the production of Serotonin – the happiness hormone. Basically, pasta = happiness.
- Their name isn’t random – at the chemical level they contain carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
- Carb sources that are rich in fiber can actually aid in weight loss – think apples, black beans, and broccoli.
So what have we learned? Carbs are simply a category of macronutrient and they can potentially make us happier. Now, let’s dive into 3 myths about carbs it’s time you stopped believing.
- They’re bad for you. Let’s get one thing straight: your body needs carbs. Carbs contain glucose, which is literally the fuel your brain runs on. Without carbs your mind will become foggy, it’ll be more difficult to make decisions, you’ll feel fatigued, and your performance will most likely dwindle. You’ll also see a change in physical performance (*cough* in the gym *cough*)
Yes – your body gets energy from protein and fat sources, but it really loves carbs. So do your taste buds.
- They make you fat. Like anything else, carbohydrates can be fattening if you eat too many. According to research by multiple dieticians, and also personal experience, carbohydrates on their own will not make you fat. For that to happen you’d need to exceed your calorie allotment.
However, many studies have found that low-carb high-fat diets result in long-term weight loss, while others point to low-fat high-carb diets as the way to go. So what’s up?
Here’s the deal: Everyone’s body is different. If you’re looking to lose weight, try out a few (healthy) ways of eating, consult with a dietitian, and stick with one. Blaming carbs, or any other singular food group for that matter, is never the way to go.
- Carbs = pasta and bread. Yes, those are carbs. But did you know fruits, veggies, and dairies are also carbs? The difference is in the type of carb and the nutrients within the food, for example: Fiber.
An apple is high in simple-carbohydrate, but it’s also full of fiber, which will keep you fuller longer, and aid in proper digestion.
Pay less attention to the word carb and more attention to the actual food you’re consuming. If your diet is full of nutrient rich foods that also happen to be carb sources – don’t sweat it.
For most people, carbohydrates are part of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle. Yes, this can include dessert every once in a while and a handful of pretzels in the afternoon. But your main carb sources should come from nutrient-rich whole foods that not only taste good, but make you feel good, too.
PS: Carbs aren’t just for athletes or fitness gurus. Every brain needs glucose. And everyone needs a brain. You do the math.
PSS: Please consult with a doctor or dietitian before making any diet changes or choices. I’m just a girl with an affinity for food and health – I’m not a professional.