“Cut the carbs”, is the most customary thing we get to hear if we consult any so-called nutritionist. There are thousands of myths concerning this amazing food group and their timings. But, they aren’t evil as you think. Carbohydrate-rich food is mostly rated bad and they are the first ones to get eliminated from the diet of people who’re looking for weight loss. Carbohydrate-rich food is rich in many other important nutrients and dropping them from your diet may devoid you of them. As soon as you’re eating the right carbs you can enjoy their benefits and lose weight. Let’s jump into the popular myths and facts about carbs.
WHAT ARE CARBS?
Carbohydrates are used by the body to produce glucose which provides us with energy immediately. An enzyme amylase breaks carbohydrates into glucose, and the body stores it in the liver and muscle for future use.
They can be further divided into categories: Simple carbs and complex carbs.
Complex carbs take longer to digest as they have longer chains of sugar molecules than simple carbohydrates, they take longer to break down. Because of this complexity in the structure of complex carbs, they provide more lasting energy than simple carbs. Complex carbs are present in foods like bread and pasta. Many other whole foods have complex carbs and are highly nutritious. Whole-grain foods that are rich in carbs are brown rice, barley, oats, etc. They contain a good amount of fiber, phytochemicals, and healthful fats. The goodness of whole-grain foods can reduce the risk of several chronic health conditions like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and several forms of cancer.
Whereas, Simple carbs breakdown faster when compared to complex carbs. There are many healthy and unhealthy versions of simple carbs. Fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products have simple carbs and are rich in micronutrients and fiber. There are also found in processed and refined sugars like candy, table sugar, syrups, and soft drinks. The majority of carb intake should come from healthy sources. Let’s break the myths about carbs and enjoy their benefits.
- CARBS MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT: You have to be calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. It’s not the carbs that are fattening. Weight gain depends on the portion and type of carbs you eat. Many carbs contain excess calories and sugar, for example, white bread, rice, and pasta, and other snack food include chips, crackers, and pretzels. These refined carbs are stripped of outside grain which contains beneficial nutrients, making glucose levels spike quickly. They are calorie-dense. Most of the food items we consume daily have some or little carbs. So, sometimes it gets really difficult to eliminate them from the diet. Carbs with a good amount of fiber (like brown rice) and protein(like legumes) raise the blood sugar level much slowly and keep you full for longer. But, even complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, etc should also be consumed in moderation. There are thousands of options to choose from. Many other nutrients come along with carbs. A healthy diet should have protein, carbs, and fats in appropriate portions according to the daily calorie requirement. Having any of them in a large amount will result in weight gain. So, it’s not only the carbs that make you fat, it’s the excess calorie intake that is making you fat. Choose healthy carb sources and enjoy their benefits. The key is to have them in moderation and according to the daily calorie intake. The Thumb rule is to have 40 to 45 percent carbs,30-35 percent of healthy fats, and 30 percent of lean protein of your daily calorie intake.
- CARBS ARE LOADED WITH SUGAR: Sugar is always accused of weight gain and many other health issues. But, most of the problems like weight gain and chronic diseases are caused because of added sugar. Most of the time fruits are blamed for their sugar content. Fruits contain natural sugar which is better than the sugar found in processed stuff like cookies, cakes, cereals, etc. that can spike up the blood sugar level quickly. Even whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread also break down into sugar in the body. But they won’t make your blood sugar spike and crash lie refined stuff. Avoid that added sugar which is hidden in most the processed food and carbonated drinks. Cutting added sugar will help you boost energy levels and mood as well (more than that sugar-loaded cake and cookies). So, it’s not the sugar in carbs making you fat, it’s that added sugar and excess calorie intake. Enjoy the benefits of carbs by choosing healthy sources and avoid processed food.
- NO CARBS AT NIGHT: Really? All the carbs are processed the same way no matter what is the time. The Thumb rule is to have them in moderation and look for healthier sources always. Most of the late-night eaters make unhealthy food choices which are mostly calorie-dense. Choose wisely and mind the portion size. There’s no scientific paper yet to back this up.
- ALL CARBS ARE SAME: No, they aren’t the same. Some types of carbohydrates rich food are better than others. Focus on their source and portion size. You’ll gain weight if you consume excess calories. Depending on the fiber content, carbs break down to sugar at a much slower pace. Choosing carbs with a good amount of protein and fiber will keep you full for longer while consuming fewer calories and this will eventually help you in weight loss. Get the right kind of carbs by cutting down the processed and baked goods, sugary drinks, sweets, and the packaged food loaded with added sugar. They have nothing good to offer and are packed with empty calories. Choose fruits, whole grains(whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc), and starchy veggies(potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, lentil, etc). These three are the best blend of protein, fiber, and carbs. They will keep the blood sugar level in check and will help you keep the calories in check. So, all the carbs aren’t created equal and you have to make the right choices.
- LOW-CARBS DIET ARE HEALTHIER: The best diet is the one you can stick to. Just because your diet is low in carbs, it doesn’t make you a healthier person. A healthy diet is a balanced one. Replacing all the fat with pasta isn’t good and cutting carbs by eating double cheeseburgers isn’t a much healthier option as well. Carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy and not having enough can make you feel sluggish and lead to brain fog, low blood sugar. Most of the Keto dieters will know about the keto flu and other effects of low carb diet well. Also, food is not only about carbs but also about other nutrients that come along with them. If you want to continue for a low carb diet, make sure your body gets the appropriate nutrients. Low carb diets are just another type of diet. You can have carbs and still lose weight.
These are the few myths regarding carbs which we commonly hear. There are many other interesting facts about carbs, which can make you fall in love with them. Let’s discuss them too.
AMAZING FACTS ABOUT CARBS:
- CARBOHYDRATES CAN HELP YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: We need the three macros in our diet i.e. Protein, carbs, and fats. Blend them in appropriate portions to make a balanced diet plan. Carbs can be a part of your diet if you choose them wisely. Carbohydrates provide less than half the calories of fat. If you just swap that high fatty food with unrefined and good carbs, you can still be calorie deficit and lose weight. You have to balance the calorie intake if you want to maintain weight and be in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. So, choose wisely and enjoy them in moderation. Carbs are the body’s source of energy and hence the body treats it differently. The body burns 23 percent of carbs for energy. However, fat can convert to body fat much faster as the body burns only 3 percent of fat calories in the process.
- CARBS POST WORKOUT CAN DO WONDERS: You need a good amount of protein and carbs post-workout to replenish the glycogen stores to prevent muscle breakdown and alleviate soreness from exercise. There is plenty of stuff with a good amount of protein and carbs which can help in muscle growth. But, over-consuming carbs and choosing the refined carbs over un-refined can be a very bad option. So, choose good carbs and enjoy the benefits. Some good carbs are Banana, sweet potato, Apples, Chia seeds, Dark green vegetables, etc. Stick to the daily carb requirement. Exceeding the calorie needs will result in weight gain, even if it comes from fat or protein.
- SOME CARBS ARE NECESSARY AND GOOD FOR YOU: Keto diet is known for many different health benefits. But, there are many other impacts of a low carb diet. Low carb diets can result in Keto flu. Pick good carbs to enjoy their benefits. If you’re following a low carb diet, make sure you nourish your body with adequate nutrients. You can still lose weight if you stick to require protein, carbs, and fat percentage and be in a calorie deficit.
- THERE’S NO FOOD WITH ZERO CARBS: There will be some amount of carb present in everything we consume (even if it’s in 0. Percent). Celery contains just 2g carbs per stalk, whereas 200 ml of milk contains around 10g of carbs. If the products say “ zero- carbs”, then they are processed more than required. Highly processed food must be avoided at any cost. C’mon some amount of carbs won’t kill you.
- CARB-CUTTING DOESN’T REDUCE THE WEIGHT DIRECTLY: So, What does that mean? Carb cutting will not do any miracles if you’re consuming more than you require. You have to be in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. Carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram, whereas fat contains around 9 calories per gram. Choose wisely and have them in moderation.
- PROVIDES ENERGY: Carbs are well-known energy providers and are the body’s main fuel source. They break down to provide energy and can help you refuel your body post-workout. Remember to have them in moderation and stop blaming carbs.
- BOOST IMMUNITY AND PROTECTS AGAINST DISEASE: They are immune boosters as well. The whole grains and dietary fiber from whole foods can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health issues. Fiber may protect against obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They (fiber) is also essential for optimal digestive health.
There are many myths and facts regarding this macronutrient. Carbs aren’t evil and they can be a part of a healthy diet. There’s no such issue with the Keto diets( low carb diets), but they’re not the only way to lose weight. It’s just a type of diet, if you want to try, you can try. Just make sure you nourish your body with all the required nutrients to keep it healthy. Blaming carbs for weight gain is wrong. Avoiding them to lose weight and considering them the only culprit in your diet is wrong. Choose your food wisely and stay in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. Cutting carbs won’t do any miracles if you still eat more than the daily requirement. Build your balanced meal plan with an adequate amount of carbs, protein, and fat. Also, the “zero-carb” food items are mostly highly processed ones, which should be avoided at any cost. Look for the ingredients and don’t go after the front claims. It may take a few minutes to read, but at least you’ll know what you’re putting inside
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