If you are health conscious and reading the diet recommendations online from unknown sources or believing whatever is written in your favorite women magazine then you would be the one scared of carbs in the meal! Even if you don’t believe in removing this energy giving food completely from your plate, you would never give it the title of being “Healthy”. Avoiding carbs is recommended by most of the health experts and nutritionists but they actually mean BAD CARBS.
Yes, carbohydrates also have different categories and the healthy diet is the one that contains all vital nutrients in the right form and quantity. Taking a zero carb diet for limited period or as a part of some special weight loss regime is fine but cutting down carbs completely from your regular diet is strongly not recommended. If you have been avoiding carbs from your diet all these years then here are the facts that will change your thoughts for better!
Know your carbs
The term “carbs” stands for carbohydrates and is the macronutrient other than fat and protein. The three main categories of carbohydrates that you get from your diet are:
– Starch: This enters the body as long glucose molecule chain and breaks down into glucose during the digestion process. The main aim of including starch in the diet is to get the energy to carry out your day to day task.
– Sugar: This sweet form of carbohydrate is more harmful as it consists of small chain of glucose molecule. Sugar can be in the form of sucrose, fructose, galactose and glucose. It is naturally present in fruits and milk. The refined form of sugar is used as artificial sweetener that adds that sweet taste to most of the desserts, chocolates and cold drinks.
– Fiber: Fiber is also the form of carbohydrate but it is not digested by humans. Though it stays undigested, the role of fiber in cleansing the system is quite recognized and that makes fibers important part of your diet. Fibers are present in the foods that are procured from the plant source. You will have healthy bowel and lowered risk of diabetes, digestive disorders, hypertension and cardiovascular disease if you include more of fiber rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and pulses in your diet.
All these three forms of carbs have their own health benefits and threats. Post digestion these carbs get converted into glucose that is required to fuel energy into the body. The excess glucose that stays unutilized due to lack of activity level would get converted into fat. This is where the health hazards of carbohydrates come into picture.
Good Carbs and Bad Carbs
The good carbs are the “complex” carbs that you will find from natural foods, while bad carbs are the “simple” carbs usually found in refined foods.
– Complex Carbs: These are the naturally available carbs that you may get from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They may have natural sugar and starch, but at the same time they have natural fibers too. Consuming the whole carbs or complex carbs to fulfil your body’s energy needs would be a healthy decision. Fuel your body more with such carbs like corn, banana, cereals, sweet potatoes and nuts. Main advantage of fueling the body with natural carbs is that it won’t start craving for the refined carbs like sugar. The lack of natural glucose would make you crave for sugar and that will result into unhealthy eating.
– Simple Carbs: Sugar is the simple carb that easily gets converted to glucose and eventually fat. Your body doesn’t have to work extra for digesting these simple carbs and hence they are more dangerous. The refined carbs that you may consume in junk food or processed food are the simple carbs.
Can cutting out carb be the right solution?
Cutting carbs for weight loss along with some supplements would not harm much as these supplements will cover up for the lack of glucose and energy by mobilizing stored fat, but cutting this macronutrient from your daily diet would be a big mistake if you are really concerned about your health.
Make sure you balance your diet such that you get what is needed and avoid all that is extra. This way you will be fit but not fat!