The 'Right' Carbohydrates
The importance of carbohydrates in a balanced diet has tended to be forgotten these days with the prevalence of the “low carb diet”. What most people tend to overlook is that you can lose weight by cutting out carbs, but it’s not always the most beneficial thing for your body and overall nutrition. Most of the weight that you would lose when on a “low carb diet” is going to be water because of the way carbohydrates retain moisture inside your body. On top of that, the brain fog that comes with is not something that many of us could live with for more than a few days. The brain fog is the first sign of the importance of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are equally important as any other part of a good diet if not the most important part. 45-60% of our daily food intake should be from carbohydrates. There’s a reason the food pyramid recommends 7 servings a day. When we eat complex carbohydrates, our body registers it as energy. The body breaks them down into glucose and uses this as immediate energy. Carbohydrates are the easiest source of this glucose. Our body is also able to store the excess for energy use later on, even weeks later. Along with the basic energy and glucose that our body metabolizes, complex carbs are a great source of vitamins and mineral including protein, iron, and B Vitamins.
Not eating the right carbs can lead to such things as amenorrhea or brain dysfunction along with severe weight loss. When our body doesn’t have amble amounts of carbs, our body looks for other sources of energy and glucose, so it turns to our muscle tissue and liver protein. This can lead to a whole host of health problems. Losing weight isn’t always the greatest thing when we’re losing our organs.
Avoiding refined carbohydrates is equally as important as getting complex carbohydrates. Because of the lack of nutrients, our body doesn’t register the same fullness, so we tend to eat too much, which is the main issue when we think about carbs. People don’t tend to gain weight from eating carbs, it’s the eating of too many carbs that becomes the issue.
When it comes to getting enough carbohydrates it’s rather simple because of the vast amount of variety. A few of my favorite sources are ancient grains such as kamut, quinoa, spelt, and millet. Anything that contains whole grain wheat such as barley, flour, oatmeal, breads, corn, and pasta are great sources as well.
It is important to eat carbs with other nutrients such as protein to slow down the absorption of the glucose. Also, it is important to remember to eat a balanced diet including carbohydrates and not to overindulge.
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