Posted on October 27, 2015

The truth about carbs

Health

good carbs vs bad carbs

A low-carb diet has never been my thing. I have always been a firm believer that all foods should be consumed in moderation. That’s why I continue to be baffled by those who are constantly carb-counting or totting up their calories half-way through the day. In my eyes, carbs are not the enemy.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with carbohydrates. Provided you eat the right ones and in the right quantities, carbs are needed for our brain and body to function normally. And I’m not just saying this because I am a carb addict – or bread addict – to be precise. I’m saying this because I have made a recent discovery that I’m going to share with you.

The human saliva contains an enzyme which helps breakdown starch into sugars. This means that biologically, we are supposed to eat carbohydrates – Mother Nature wants this for us people! It just comes down to whether we eat the right ones or not.

There are two types of carbohydrates: complex carbs (the good) and simple carbs (not so good). Complex carbs take time to digest. These include whole and unrefined grains, fibre and vegetables. Simple carbs on the other hand, provide the body with a quick burst of energy. These include refined starches and sugars added during food processing.

Good carbs

good carbs

Unrefined grains

Unrefined grain products like brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, whole wheat bread, buckwheat, oats etc are considered to be good carbs. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are all essential to your health. Because they are slowly digested, they cause a slower change in blood sugar levels.

Fibre

Fibre is a good carb that isn’t digested by our body. However, it is needed for intestinal health as it aids with digestion and ensuring that damaging toxins are excreted from the body. Foods high in fibre include leafy greens such as broccoli, beans, lentils, apples and pears.

Not so good carbs

bad carbs

Refined starches

White-flour breads, pasta and rice. Crackers, biscuits and other baked packaged foods are all considered as refined carbs. The bran, hull and fibre are removed from the grain during the refinement process meaning they contain little to no fibre and a lot of minerals and nutrients are lost.

Refined sugars

Refined sugars are probably one of the worst things you can feed your body with. These include sucrose, lactose, molasses and fruit juice concentrates. High level of sugar consumption can lead to extreme fluctuations in energy, more sugar cravings and mood swings.

In a nutshell: good carbs take time to digest in the body and as a result, you stay fuller for longer. They include whole-grain foods and vegetables. Bad carbs give you a sudden burst of energy and as a result cause a fluctuation in blood sugar levels. They include sweets and refined starches.

So before you unfairly black-list some carb-loaded foods, ask yourself this: is it a good carb or not? :)

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