My first blog post ( not a recipe post) is here! And what better way to start if not with one of the most common assumption I see on daily basis and that is - carbs should be feared and avoided.
I am met with misconception of that carbs will promote weight gain and therefore this innocent macronutrient group has really got a bad reputation especially in a fitness environment. I am hoping this post will help you understand why carbs actually benefit your body and hopefully help you break a fear you may have from eating all delicious foods you may have been avoiding.
What are carbohydrates ?
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that we consume from our diet( along with fat and protein).
They are preferable source of energy for our bodies. After consuming carbohydrates most of them are broken down for glucose, absorbed into the bloodstream and then used for energy. Our body also have capacity to store carbohydrates in muscles in form of glycogen. That's why eating extra portion on your plate won't necessarily mean that it will turn into fat in your body.
Just to be clear I am talking here mainly about whole food sources of carbohydrates that also offer water, micronutrients and fibre amazing for our digestion and proper body functioning.
What types of carbohydrates do we know ? And how do they differ in energy release?
Complex carbohydrates such as rice, bread, potatoes, grains, legumes, even vegetables offer more sustainable release of energy after consuming.
If we would want to pick between whole grain rice or white rice for example better choice in terms of energy release would offer whole grain rice as it offers more fiber, which then slows down digestion and energy release. Note: Please don’t fear white rice. I am not here to demonise food groups. I am simply trying to show you difference when it comes to energy release.
On the other side we have got simple carbohydrates which offers quick release of energy. Common example of foods that contain simple carbohydrates are refined sugars, milk(lactose) and fruit.
After consuming refined sugars( soda, candies..) our blood sugar levels spikes too quickly, leading to energy rush and then quick energy crash. This can leave us feeling like we need more and more !(viscous cycle)
On the other side simple sugars in fruit is categorised as simple carbohydrate as well, BUT there is a little catch. Fruit comes with package of whole loads of fiber, water and nutrients. This is the reason why our body digest sugars from fruit slower and therefore avoiding any enormous spikes of blood sugar levels.
Why cutting out carbohydrate rich food "works" for weight loss?
You see it everywhere, paleo, low-carb, keto, atkins diet, you name it. All sort of fad diets that are all based on one and that is - cutting out whole macronutrients group which is unfortunately carbohydrates .
If I am honest I have been there, I have gone through some of fad diets and I have feared bread, fruit, rice, potatoes and all the food that tastes sooo good.
But how did I end up feeling? Lethargic, not energised and never satisfied after my meals simply because my body wasn’t getting what it needed - source of energy to function properly.
Main reason why cutting out carbs from diet is so popular is simply because cutting out whole food group often leads to eating generally less amount of food than you expend therefore weight loss.
Another reason why weight loss may occur is because carbohydrates are stored in muscles in form of glycogen(along with water).
As soon as you deplete your glycogen stores from muscles you can expect the number on scale to drop. Often being unaware weight loss doesn’t actually mean fat loss. I like to call it water loss:).
If this info still hasn’t changed your view on carbohydrates rich foods then here are few of
amazing health benefits you can thrive from by eating whole food sources of carbohydrates
Increased energy levels
Increased intake of micronutrients - all sorts of complex vitamins and minerals
Increased intake of fiber
Better athletic performance
And many many more health promoting benefits !
Eating carbohydrates from whole food sources along with balanced diet of protein and fats will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished. General guidelines suggest that roughly half of our calories should come from carbohydrates.
But we are all different and that’s why finding what works for your body, digestion and lifestyle is the most important.