Very often I hear people say that they are on a diet, and that's why are not eating carbs! To this day, every time I hear this, I am shocked! For one due to the fact that people are still falling for some "quick-fix-diets", despite the wide knowledge that such diets simply don't work. But I am even more shocked about the fact that there is such a misconception about carbs, and so many people see it as the "enemy" and the reason they can't lose weight. So let's have a look and see whether carbs are really as "bad" as everyone thinks!
Carbs, just like fats and protein are essential part of a healthy nutrition and lifestyle. Our body needs carbs in order to get energy. Simply put cabrs are the starches, sugars and fibers that we can find in products such as veggies, milk, grains and fruits. There are two main types of carbs:
- simple (bad / unhealthy) carbs - this consist of white bread, white pasta, white rice, drinks and fruit juices with added sugar, jams, cakes
- complex (good / healthy) carbs - this type consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, potatoes and whole grains
Both types of carbs are turned into glucose once consumed and this in turn is used as energy from the body. The difference between the two is in the speed of digestion and absorption from the body. The simple carbs are digested much faster than complex are, which means that they won't keep you full for a long period of time. The simple carbs create the so called "blood sugar roller coaster" - after consumption your blood sugar raises, and shortly after decreases to a low level. This resulting in you feeling tired and low on energy, which in turn makes you crave this simple carbs once again in the search for some energy.
Another difference between the two types is the chemical structure. Without getting into too much technicality, let's have a look:
- the simple carbs are made up of sugar (either occurring naturally or added). They don't require further breakdown, as they are absorbed directly
- the complex carbs on the other hand contain fibers and starches, which are essential for a healthy diet. These carbs require further breakdown once they are in the body, which means that they keep the blood sugar levels stable, and will keep you full for longer periods of time
The bottom line is that not all carbs are bad for us. We should stay away from the simple carbs which simply put are empty calories, and instead focus on the complex ones, such as:
- whole grains
As we know, the food manufacturers add sugar to pretty much all the process products (more on that here), that why it is important that the complex carbs we chose are always whole and unprocessed.
I am always curious to learn about new and healthy recipes, so share what are some of your favorite recipes containing complex carbs.