People are always talking about cutting out carbs so they can lose weight. Carbohydrates are seen as the enemy to be avoided at all costs. But maybe we should first find out what carbs are and if all carbs are bad for us.
What exactly is a carb anyhow?
Let’s keep it simple. All food is made up of three basic things. They are fat, proteins, and carbohydrates. So, if what you’re eating isn’t a fat or a protein, then you’re eating a carbohydrate.
That’s an easy way to tell what a carbohydrate is. Most carbohydrates (carbs) come from plants. These include fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The exception is dairy products which don’t come from plants but are carbs anyhow. Some great thing about carbs are that they give you energy and protect you against certain diseases and cancers.
The bad thing about carbs is that too much of them makes you fat. But then, too much of almost anything makes you fat. (Mayo Clinic, 2011)
Let’s start with bad carbs
Usually when people talk about avoiding carbs, they’re talking about not eating products made from grains. Food like white bread, pasta, and rice. It’s true that these are carbs.
Although they may not be the healthiest carbs, they are not the unhealthiest either. Those carbs that really are bad? Now your list includes most sweets such as cookies, cake, doughnuts, and junk food.
These are the carbs that should be mostly avoided. What is it that makes these carbs bad? Usually the main villains in bad carbs are white flour and added sugar. And probably fat. What’s so bad about these things?
The problem is that there’s likely nothing really good for your body in them. They’re just filled up with things that, if you eat too much of them, can make you sick. Or kill you.
Is there such a thing as good carbs?
Absolutely. Here’s what people miss: vegetables have carbs. Yes, really. Carrots have carbs; celery has carbs. A quick and simple way to tell if a food has carbs is to ask yourself: is it a fat? no? Is it a protein? no? If you answered “no” to these two questions, then you’re looking at a carb.
Since they both have carbs, is there a difference between a carrot and a candy? Beside the main point that they both have carbs, you should also look at what else they both have, and also what they don’t have.
For instance, carrots have vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Candies don’t. Candies are mostly sugar. Carrots aren’t. Does your body want and need the vitamins, minerals, and fiber, or would it prefer the sugar? We know what your body really wants.
Fruits, dairy products, legumes, cereals, bread, pasta, and rice are all sources of carbs. So are starchy vegetables like potatoes. Are these bad for you? Well, let’s look at what they have in them. Do they have fiber, vitamins, and minerals?
That’s what your body wants. That’s what your body needs. By the way, although taking a multivitamin can be a good idea, it in no way replaces getting the vitamins and minerals you need from the food itself.
And, as far as fiber goes, you need to get it from whole grains (not enriched flours), vegetables, and fruits, especially the skin and seeds. (Magee, 2008)
Are there ugly carbs?
Well, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But, as far as what your body sees, it would prefer the beauty of carbs in the form of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and low-fat dairy products. So go ahead, eat and enjoy carbs. If you choose carefully, you could get really healthy!
Magee, Elaine, MPH, RD, (2008, October 30). Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Why Carbohydrates Matter to You. WebMD. Retrieved from http://ift.tt/1bsy77f
Staff, Mayo Clinic, (2011, February 8). Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://ift.tt/1ezxjC0