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The Truth About Carbohydrates!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Author: 
Mary Houghton
Friday, January 3, 2014

                                       Photo: Grant Cochrane

With several trending diets out there such as Atkins, South Beach, etc; people nowadays are lead to believe that eating carbohydrates is bad for us or is what makes us gain weight. Well believe it or not, this is the farthest thing from the truth! Carbohydrates are what our body uses to make glucose, which fuels our body and all of its processes. In fact, not eating enough carbohydrates can hurt you. If your body doesn’t have enough glycogen (stored form of glucose), it well start to use protein and fat as your energy source. This is not healthy because we need protein and fat for other processes in our body, like growth, repair, structure, and protection. Another harmful thing that can result from a no carb diet is the state of Ketosis, which occurs when glycogen in the liver has been depleted. Ketosis can lead to serious health problems.

Having said all of that, there are certain types of carbs that are more healthful for you than others. There are two types of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates refer to simple sugars that are easily digested in the body and give us quick energy. These are the types of sugars that we want to avoid, i.e. white refined breads, donuts, and sugary packaged cereals. Complex carbohydrates are slowly digesting carbohydrates that also provide several minerals and vitamins. Three important types of complex carbohydrates are fiber and whole grains, and starchy vegetables and beans. Examples of these types of foods are spinach, broccoli, whole wheat and multi grain breads, black beans, lentils, nuts, oats, rice, etc.

The moral of the story is that carbohydrates are our friend! They are what fuel us and enable us to do our activities of daily living. Not to mention, they are delicious! So stop fearing carbs and gaining weight, because all of these carb free diets are non-sustainable and just not enjoyable. Remember, less sugar and more whole grains and fiber for a healthier diet! Now go enjoy a bowl of whole grain pasta. 

For more examples of more healthful carbs, click this link for some great recipe ideas! 

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