One of the things I see more often than not is the ever-present, ubiquitous, and irrational fear of CARBS. Why have we fabricated an existence that trembles before Earth-grown foods like starches, beans, berries and fruits? Carbs are such a bone of contention in 2019 that it’s worth discussing and undoing the pseudoscience, so here we go:
Carbs are not bad. End of story. Just kidding-that’s not the end. Let’s go over some reasons why carbs aren’t scary:
- Yes, it’s true that some carbs should be on the no-no list, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbs, or whole food sources, are entirely different from the refined carbs that you’re ACTUALLY being warned about like sugar, white breads, cookies, etc. Clean carbs tend to be packed with fiber and LOTS of other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
- Fiber is important because it slows down the absorption of food, which allows for the uptake of more nutrients. Slow nutrient uptake can do big things for reducing sugar spikes and therefore, reducing type II diabetes risks. Foods that slow down sugar spikes are termed low-glycemic index foods.
- Carbs are your body’s PREFERRED source of energy. It’s true. Carbs begin breaking down quickly the moment they hit your mouth and are easily used to fuel your cells. It’s a glucose world and you’re a glycolysis and Kreb’s cycle girl (or guy). Your muscles use carbohydrate sources for intense workouts. A light meal of .25-.50 grams of complex carbs per pound of body weight a few hours before a workout can provide GREAT energy and assist with recovery.
- Carbs don’t make you fat. Excess calories make you fat. Cold hard truth. Even though keto is touted as a Godsend, you can still gain weight on a low carb diet if your food input is greater than your energy output.
- Lastly, carbs don’t cause heart disease. Not clean carbs, anyway. Interestingly enough, the low-carb guru of the 90s, Dr. Atkins, died of a heart attack. While avoiding an unhealthy diet in general can contribute to lesser chances of heart disease, a lot of cardiac and coronary disease is actually genetic. Thank your parents. However, clean carbs like oats can actually reduce cholesterol levels. Quaker up.
As you can see, there are so many more reasons why we SHOULDN’T be scared of carbs compared to why we should be afraid, and the list doesn’t stop here. A healthy diet does not involve the elimination of any macro nutrient, be it carbs, fats, or proteins. They each play a crucial role in your health, wellness, and fitness. Each has its own benefits and risks, but a balanced diet can ensure that each is used to fuel your body and assist with the processes your body performs to function rather than put your health at risk. Just food for thought when considering your next meal…