Time and time again we told that carbs are bad. Many believe that if we limit or completely rid our diets of all carbs we will lose body fat. Many also blame carbs for unwanted weight gain. If I was given a dime for every time I hear someone say that they are cutting carbs out of their diets to lose weight, I would be a millionaire. Little do they know that carbs are essential to human health and you can actually lose body fat more efficiently if you eat the right types of carbohydrates. So I’m here to clear things up..
First off, what are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that our bodies need to function and survive. They consist of starches, sugars, and fiber. They can be found in both healthy foods and unhealthy foods, so be careful about which types you choose to consume. The carbs that we should be eating come from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. The carbs that should be avoided are processed carbs that come from processed white bread, white pasta, soda/sugary drinks, and candy. The “good” carbs provide you with vitamins, glucose, and fiber, while the “bad” carbs may promote unhealthy weight gain and increase your risk of getting heart disease.
Your body needs the “good” carbohydrates. They fuel your central nervous system, give your working muscles the energy they need for daily function and physical activity, and influence brain function, memory, and mood. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, so they will provide you with the fuel that you need and can actually increase your metabolism. If you have an inadequate intake of carbohydrates your body will take the protein sources you consume and use them for fuel instead of storing them in your body to help you build and maintain lean muscle mass.
Carbohydrates, such as fruits, are great for your health all around. They contain the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs, while providing your body with fuel. They are easily and quickly digested so they are a great energy source before a workout. They also provide your body with the nutrients and glucose that it needs, so they curb your cravings for unhealthy foods. In addition, the fiber in carbohydrates promotes bowel movements, therefore reducing bloating and the risk for colon cancer. Carbohydrates such as potatoes, beans, and whole grains are slowly digested, keeping you fuller and energized longer.
On the other hand, there are some carbohydrates that should be avoided. Carbohydrates that have been highly processed such as white bread or pasta, candy, donuts, soda, and white flour are all empty calorie carbs. They have no benefit to your health like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans do. These types of carbs are the ones that will cause your body fat percentage to increase.
So overall, carbs are your friend and should play a significant role in your nutrition– just be careful of which type of carbohydrates you are consuming. If you are eating the right types - fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains - you will have lots of energy, you will feel great, and you will lose body fat and/or maintain a healthy weight!