WHAT ARE CARBS?
Carbs. Aka. Carbohydrates.
What are they and why are we afraid of them? Carbohydrates are a macronutrient, meaning they are one of the three main ways the body obtains energy or calories. Yes... CALORIES are ENERGY.
"The American Diabetes Association notes that carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. They are called carbohydrates because, at the chemical level, they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen." - Livescience
Why are they bad?
Carbs gained a bad name when professionals realized reducing carbohydrates in a diabetic diet could make a positive impact on their patient's lives. Soon enough the whole country was in a frenzy of reducing carbs for EVERYONE and many believed it was the magical secret to weight loss.
Shouldn't I cut carbs though?
NO! Reducing your intake of healthy carbs can lead to the following problems:
A slower metabolism
Lower levels of muscle/strength-building hormones
Higher levels of stress hormones
The result? You might find yourself feeling cranky, fatigued, weaker, or even sick at times.
Aren't carbs just sugar?
Yes. Carbs DO turn into sugars in the body, but here's the thing: fiber is one of the things that makes the carbs usually described as "good carbs". Fiber helps the digestion process and gets this human factory moving! According to the USDA, most of the carbs you should be getting from your diet should be complex carbohydrates: the unprocessed, fiber-laden, long chain complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Less than 10 percent should be coming from simple carbohydrates, like table sugar, refined or processed.
Are there "good" carbs?
Carbs are carbs, but some are going to digest much more efficiently in your body than others! Check out a list of some of the most optimal carbs to include in a healthy diet according to Heathline:
Now that I have your attention — yes, you can eat pizza! If you make it right, that is. Make it with a thin crust (preferably whole grain or gluten-free) and load it up with tomato sauce or pesto sauce, plus lots of flavorful vegetables.
This powerhouse seed acts and tastes like a nutty grain, but it’s actually a gluten-free seed. It’s higher in nutrients and protein than most grains, meaning that you can forego the cholesterol, saturated fat, and cancer-causing compounds found in animal proteins.
Yum! Lentils are quick and easy to prepare in comparison to other types of beans. They’re high in protein and a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, which can be helpful for people with diabetes, as fiber prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. Lentils contain many important minerals including iron, magnesium, and folate.
Dates can help fend off everything from night blindness to anemia, and constipation to seasonal allergies. The significant amounts of minerals found in dates like iron, calcium, and potassium can help with healthy bone development and maintaining a healthy gut. Incorporatie dates into my snacks and desserts!
Oats play a vital role in improving our feeling of fullness, and can be a boon to our digestive, cardiovascular, and overall metabolic health. Oats are rich in a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan known to help lower levels of bad cholesterol.
6. Whole wheat pastas
Yes! Spaghetti, linguine, farfalle. Give pasta a chance, in smaller portions and especially when paired with a plethora of vegetables.
7. Black beans
Black beans are classified as legumes. They’re easy to make, and chock full of protein, fiber, and iron. They also contain many minerals important in building and maintaining bone structure and strength, and contain selenium, which plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps to detoxify cancer-causing compounds in the body.
Apples are one of the best sources of carbs you can eat, since they contain large amounts of pectin, which helps keep you feeling full, as well as vitamin C and potassium. They’re also rich in natural sugars, which digest more slowly than those found in processed foods.
Chickpeas are particularly high in fiber and are loaded with health-building and bone-building minerals, including vitamin K, phosphate, and calcium.
Pears offer a large dose of potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber. They’re decadently sweet and aid in cleansing the digestive tract.