The Lowdown on Carbs

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The Lowdown on Carbs

Quinoa grainFor the past few years, we’ve all heard that carbs are “bad” and we should avoid them in our diets at all cost. But is that really true? Could it be possible that an entire group of macronutrients contains no nutritional value and should be considered off limits?

Actually, no. A low-carb diet can be beneficial if you cut out the right (or in this case, wrong) types of carbohydrates. Simple sugars, such as those contained in candy and packaged snacks, contain zero nutritional value. This type of simple carbohydrate is quickly released into your bloodstream, where it causes sugar spikes and crashes, along with a host of other problems. White flour is another type of simple carb that carries similar effects. When we talk about a low-carb diet, these are the ones you want to avoid.

But all carbohydrates are not created equal. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and even dairy, are part of a healthy diet. Your body actually needs these nutrients to perform optimally.

Complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly than simple carbs, supplying your body with a steady source of energy as they are converted to glucose. In fact, carbs are our bodies’ main source of energy! And of course, foods that contain complex carbohydrates also include many other vital nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

The problem with carbohydrates is that eaten alone, they aren’t very filling. People who eat diets high in carbohydrates tend to overeat, and we gain weight when we consume more calories than we burn. But when you cut out the simple carbs, those foods that contain little nutritional value, you can begin to better balance your diet.

Seek to consume a little over half of your daily calories from complex carbohydrates – those found in veggies, fruits, dairy, and whole grains. Then make sure you’re eating your recommended daily allowance of protein, and a reasonable amount of healthy fats. This way you’re consuming vital nutrients from each food group, rather than focusing too much on only one macronutrient.

For more information on how to correctly balance your diet, call our office to schedule an appointment. We can help you learn the difference between good and bad carbs, calculate the right percentages of fats and proteins for your diet, and put you on a path toward weight loss and improved health.