Carbohydrates often receive a bad reputation. They're known for weight gain for some but others, they're known as our primary source of energy. The primary role of carbs is to provide immediate energy and should be at least 45% of our daily intake. Even though our bodies can survive without carbohydrates, they are still needed for daily health and performance.
Carbs shouldn't be ignored, especially if you are aiming to perform any type of physical activity. "For any active person, carbohydrates are the number one source of energy because they metabolized the fastest. " In other words, carbs are used first before any other macronutrient (fat and protein). A good understanding of how carbs work can lead to a positive perspective and before we put some disrespect on carbs, let's get to learn what they are and their purpose.
Type of Carbohydrates
There are two types of carbohydrates, complex (starches) and simple (sugary) carbs.
Complex carbs are known as "good carbs" and, consist of vegetables. Complex carbs are more nutritionally dense, provide more energy, and should be a part of your daily meals. Some complex carbs do consist of sugar (natural) but are high in vitamins, minerals, soluble and insoluble fiber. These carbs are also considered low to medium in the glycemic index (GI). The "Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their simplicity " and how it responds to one's blood glucose (sugar) after two hours of consumption. Removing fiber from food increases the GI score.
Not all complex carbs are low in calories/grams or have a low to medium GI score. For example, potatoes are considered high in carbs as well as whole-wheat bread and brown rice. These type of complex carbs reacts to the body differently. Meaning, they are digested differently. When eating broccoli, potatoes, rice (brown/white), or grains, do you experience bloating or feeling fuller quicker than expected?
I do and because our bodies lack the very enzymes (protein) that help break these types of carbs where we can experience bloating and/or feeling fuller quicker but yet satisfied. Now, everyone may not experience that but I know a few do. Those types of carbs takes a while to digest, so when consume its important that we take our time to chew and enjoy.
Simple carbs consist of fruits, sweets, or sugary foods (ex. donuts, cookies). Simple carbs, like fruits, are good for the body. Similar to complex carbs, fruits do have the essential nutrients and should be a part of your daily intake. Now, the simple carbs that people should stay away from are the carbs that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugar such as pastries. When you are dealing with a health issue and needing to lose weight, these carbs should not be anywhere near your mouth. In my opinion, it's okay to have your favorite sweets here and there but if you're on a journey of cleansing, detoxing, and/or healing stay away from these carbs until your body can consume them without a problem. If they cause issues to the body, that's when carbs can become your worst enemy. Simple Carbs, like pastries, don't provide the essential nutrients that your body needs. Because these types of carbs lack the very nutrients we need, it begins to develop the disease in our cells and can cause cancer.
Science Moment: Specifically for diabetics, over consumption of simple (sugary) carbs causes the cell to stop responding to insulin and stop the glucose (sugar) into the cell.
I am a cookie/brownie monster but I know I that I can enjoy for a moment but not for a lifetime.
It's recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for America, that we should take in between 45- 65% of carbs a daily. For example, If I take in 1500 calories day, then I should be taking in between 675g to 975g, of carbs daily. Time to calculate: Estimate your daily calorie intake. Multiply that number by .45 to determine your minimum. Then multiply your estimated calorie intake by .65 to determine your maximum.
What's your amount? Does/Doesn't seem like a lot for you?
Your daily percentage intake may seem a lot or not but consuming carbs daily can improve energy, reduce calorie intake, and feeds the cells. You may not consume a lot of them but make sure you don't neglect it either.
So are carbs good or bad for us? It depends on the carb but carbs should never be the enemy if consumed right and not abused. So let's stop listening to what the world says and begin to obtain knowledge on the very nutrient that responds to immediate energy and helps us lose weight, main or gain weight the healthy way.
Please share your thoughts and comment below. God Bless.