Many of us feel guilty as we reach for a slice of bread, or help ourselves to some pasta – and we can’t help but wonder if we should be eating carbs or not.
The answer is yes. We should eat carbs. No, carbs are not the devil in disguise. Simply put, they are compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are three types of carbs: sugar, starch and fiber.
We’ve all heard of low-carb diets. The truth is, the only times these types of diets have beneficial effects is for seizure control for those with epilepsy. Obese and overweight individuals may also benefit from this diet – but the results are short-term. Otherwise, this stay-away-from-carbs-as-if-your-life-depends-on-it idea is not a good one. In fact, it could have health consequences.
Okay, so you’re telling me I can stuff my face with pasta and bread?
Balance is key – not only in nutrition, but in life as well. You should enjoy carbs as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
But not all carbs are created equal. Which ones should I eat?
Opt for complex carbs – such as whole grains (brown rice, barley, rye, wheat, millet and others), legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and others) and veggies. Yes, you read right. Veggies contain fiber – which is a type of carb.
Limit your intake of simple carbs – which is just sugar. Among other junk food, this can be found in soda, sweets and desserts. Your body doesn’t recognize the difference between the sugar found in these junk-y forms versus the more natural forms – such as honey and maple syrup. So it’s good to limit your intake of these as well.
But fruits also have sugar. Should I limit my intake of fruits too?!
Fruits don’t have just sugar – they are blessed with many other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For that reason, I don’t recommend limiting your intake of fruits. Just don’t go cray and eat 15 fruits per day! Balance is key people.
What about carb-loading?
Excellent question. Stay tuned for next post to get the scoop on this hot topic!