Carbohydrates, popularly known as carbs, are the first ones blamed for weight gain. Weight watchers new to the faith of weight loss are warned, “Carbs are the enemy.” But the media has twisted the public’s image of carbohydrates so it’s hard to tell what’s what. The trends keep changing; one year carbs are good for you, and the next, the opposite is true. Due to this unstable image, too many people looking to shed excess pounds have decided to ditch carbs altogether.
But are carbs really the enemy? An article on Livestrong.com defined carbohydrates as “essential macronutrients that provide the most desirable form of energy of your body in the form of glucose.” Carbohydrates are nutrients found in numerous foods and drinks. Most carbohydrates are naturally produced in plant-based foods such as grains and wheat. And, yes, eating too many carbs, especially when you lead a sedentary lifestyle, may contribute to weight gain. But under those criteria, the same can be said about a lot of other types of food.
And in the meantime, you could be missing out on these health benefits you can get from eating carbs:
1. Carbs are certified energy providers.
Every girl needs her stock of energy. The demands of work and social life can zap the energy out of us all too easily. Carbohydrates are the most important energy providers among the macronutrients, accounting for 40 to 80% of total energy intake. The main source of our required daily energy can be found in our regular intake of carbs, which are rich in glucose. Starches and sugars from our food are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. Our bodies use these sugars to keep us going through the day.
2. Carbs boost your mood.
Feeling a little down lately? Are your office mates thinking about nominating you as the company’s official grumpy bear? Consider munching on a piece of bread from time to time. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that people who practiced a low-carbohydrate diet for a year, only allowing 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, experienced more anxiety, anger and depression compared to those subscribing to low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets.
3. Carbs contribute to heart health.
Certain carbohydrates promote cardiovascular health. Top foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, grains, beans and fruits—all good for the heart.
- Fruits and vegetables–These are great low-calorie alternative sources of carbohydrates. Packed with vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables also reduce blood pressure. People who eat more than seven servings a day are at low risk of suffering coronary heart disease. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables also lower LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as Bad Cholesterol.
- Whole grains–Wheat bran is effective in lowering risks for cardiovascular diseases.
4. Carbs promote healthy weight control
Yes, you read that right. Carbohydrates are essential to healthy weight management. Contrary to popular belief, intake of carbohydrates is crucial to weight control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 14 grams of fiber for a thousand-calorie diet. Fiber remains abundant in carbohydrates, so it’s nearly impossible to get enough fiber on a low-calorie diet, which is essential to healthy weight control.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying you should binge on french fries or eat a whole pizza on your own. But we are saying that, when taken in moderation, carbs are friends, not foes, as far as your efforts to get fit and healthy go. So stop depriving yourself. Instead focus on a holistic approach to dieting and fitness.