Carbs form an essential constituent of your diet. Unfortunately, the idea ‘carbs are bad for you’ has confused people about how important carbs are in your diet.
Did you know those simple carbohydrates formed a significant chunk of our diets before the popularisation of low-carb diets and low-carb foods? Dieticians recommended carbs through bread, pasta, cereal, rice, and they outweighed fruits and vegetables in diets.
High intake of simple carb diets eventually resulted in obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and insulin resistance, among others. But, the truth is you need carbs; they are essential to your body’s functioning.
Let’s understand carbs better!
What are carbs?
Carbs form one of the three macronutrients (The rest two are- fats and proteins), which include a large part of our diet.
What are the three types of carbs?
Sugar is one of the simplest forms of carbohydrates. They are naturally found in many vegetables and fruits. Sugar naturally found in these foods is a good and rather essential part of your diet.
The sugar we need to worry about is the ones we get through chocolates, ice-creams, fizz drinks, and many other unhealthy foods.
We get simple sugars from fruits, which is good for health. But avoid drinking fruit juices as they suddenly spike the blood sugar. Remember this thumb rule- Chew your fruits and juice your vegetables.
Starch is a complex carbohydrate; they are many sugar units bonded together to form complex structures. Foods like bread, rice, potato, etc., are rich sources of starch. Green vegetables are also rich sources of starch.
Fibre is also a complex form of carbohydrate. Fibres are known to take a long time to digest and quite filling for the stomach.
Fruits like bananas, beans, oranges, and strawberries are rich in fibre. Vegetables like peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot are high in fibres as well.
Why do we need carbs in our diet?
Get the energy to go about your day.
Carbs are the primary energy source in your body. Sugar, fibre, and starch consumed through your diet are converted to simple sugars that in turn gets easily absorbed in your bloodstream and are known as blood glucose. This blood glucose is the source of energy for all your everyday activities and tasks.
- Protection against cardiovascular diseases.
Research shows that grains rich in fibres are known to protect you against cardiovascular diseases.
Help in weight loss
When you consume fibre and starch, your body feels full for a prolonged period. Fibre and carbs are also a long time to digest; hence do not make you feel hungry for a long time. Thus, they aid weight loss as you do not end up snacking junk foods that you often do.
Now that we know that carbs are good for us,
How many carbs do we need to consume in a day?
Ideally, carbs should constitute about 45-65% of your daily calories. E.g., if you consume 2000 calories a day, 900-1300 calories should be from carbohydrates.
It’s all about the balance
Anything in excess is bad for you. The same goes for carbohydrates. If your diet consists of too many carbohydrates, your body is likely to go through some issues. Similarly, if your diets lack the necessary carbohydrates, you will suffer from various problems such as headaches and fatigue. Therefore, a balanced carb diet plan is the sustainable way towards your health goals.
Five signs that show that your body is getting too many carbs-
Sudden weight gain
Consuming too many simple carbs leads to eating to increased calorie intake and also weight gain. Simple carbohydrates, unlike complex carbohydrates, are calorie-dense and thus result in weight gain.
On the other hand, complex carbs like starch and fibre take longer to digest and keep you full for longer durations.
Remember- Weight gain is a part of life, so do not panic if you gain a few kilos. BMI is a better metric to measure your weight. The only time you need to be worried about your weight is when your BMI is higher than normal.
Do you start panting after just climbing a few stairs? Tiredness after consuming simple carbs is a real thing. Studies show that simple carbs giving you an energy boost for a short duration and lead to fatigue after some time.
Studies have also been conducted that suggest that simple carbs disrupt your sleep patterns and affect your sleep quality. So if you find yourself tired a lot, it could be a sign to watch your carb intake.
Increased sugar cravings
Do you know what happens when you cut off added sugar from your diet? It is like battling an addiction; your body craves sugar, alters your mood, and causes difficulty performing everyday tasks.
Why is that? Consuming sugar releases dopamine in your body, an addictive hormone; your body wants more and more of it, meaning more the sugar, the more dopamine!
If you see yourself eating foods rich in simple carbs, you probably have some diet changes to look forward to!
High cholesterol is a welcome invitation to chronic cardiovascular diseases and also diabetes. High cholesterol is also known to induce stroke in many.
Consuming high sugar levels is likely to cause your LDL (Low-density lipoprotein- it carries cholesterol/ sugar to the cells that have energy requirement) to disfunction and rapidly clog your arteries and increase the risks of thrombosis (when a blood clot blocks your blood vessels). That does not sound like something pleasant!
Too many cavities!
There is a reason why dentists ask you to stay off chocolates, pastries, and other irresistible sweets; they have the power to ruin your beautiful smile. Not just sweets but pizza, burgers, fries can do that to your teeth too.
Carbs, mainly starch, are broken into simple sugar by your saliva. Bacteria present in your mouth feed on these sugars to create irreversible damage. Now, you know why your dentist asks you to brush after every major meal!
The horrible, horrible acne!
Carbs are one of the worst foods for acne; carbs cause a horrible acne outbreak. Urban diets today, especially amongst teens and young individuals, consists of more sugar-based foods, which results in acne.
Any foods with a high glycemic index (food’s ability to quickly increase your blood sugar levels) can result in acne.
White Kidney Bean- The Ultimate Carb Blocker
White kidney beans act as a natural carb blocker that prevents carbs from converting into excess sugars. This helps lower insulin levels. No sugar means your body is trained to use the excess fat as an energy source, thus promoting weight loss. White Kidney beans can be easily incorporated into your diet; you can also get them through your supplements.
The Bottom Line
Carbs are good and essential for you when taken in moderation. Stay off simple carbs and consume complex carbs for two reasons- they help you meet your carb requirement and make you full for longer durations, thus aiding in weight loss.