Feeling uneasy around those delicious carbs? Stop generalizing such an important macronutrient, and remove the unnecessary fear.
Are you afraid of carbs? With all the low-carb fads and keto diet trend, it’s no wonder that so many people are experiencing fear around them. The myth of “evil carbs” is alive and well, and it can be frustrating to those who simply want to know if they can eat carbs.
The key is to remember: carbs are a key macronutrient that is essential in a healthy diet, and you don’t need to live in fear of delicious carb-containing foods. Here are 10 reasons why carbs are your friends.
1. Carbs are delicious.
Obviously! But there is more to it. We crave carbs because our bodies need them for energy. There is a reason why we crave carbs when we are hungry: it’s because our body is telling us it wants easily accessible fuel. Complex carbs are a great source of fuel for our body. But when we restrict ourselves of this fuel, we start craving other ways to compensate and may end up increasing how much processed foods and sugar-laden treats you eat. The easiest way to reduce your need to binge during cravings – get in your healthy carbs!
2. Carbs help control blood sugar.
Talking about sugar, whole grains actually help control blood sugar! Eating whole grains reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes because they are rich in fiber, which helps energy be released into the bloodstream slowly throughout the day. This is exactly what we need for sustained energy levels and steady blood sugar.
3. Carbs make your belly happy.
Because they are rich in fiber, they will get your bowels moving. One study showed that people who eat more whole grains have better digestive health and help with weight management.
4. Carbs do not make you gain weight.
TAs easy as it would be, there actually isn’t a single nutrient to blame for weight gain. Carbs are part of a healthy diet and an essential source of energy! Overeating, a poor diet and lack of exercise might make you gain a few pounds. But don’t blame it on the carbs! Studies show that consumption of whole grains is associated with LOWER overall weight.
5. Not all carbs are the same.
People often lump all carbs in one category. While a slice of white bread may not provide much nutritional value and is less likely to make you feel satisfied for a long period of time, it won’t be detrimental to your health if you have sometimes. A bowl of brown rice is rich in fiber, magnesium, selenium, niacin and vitamin B6, and can be more satisfying and nourishing for your body in the long run.
6. Carbs are everywhere.
There are plenty of healthy foods that are rich in carbs, including vegetables, fruits, dairy (lactose=sugar), legumes and pulses. Almost all of these are important in a balanced diet.
7. Eating carbs can lower your risk of heart disease!
There is evidence that higher whole grain intake lowers LDL cholesterol, which is linked to lower heart disease risk.
8. Eating more carbs will help you stay active.
Evidence suggests that caloric restriction results in lower physical activity levels. This means that by restricting your best source of energy (complex carbs!), you may be feeling tired and fatigued. How will you go for a run if you struggle to get out of bed?
9. Carbs make life better.
Let’s face it, carbs keep you happy, but it can also increase your life span! Because of all the health benefits of whole grain intake, people who consume plenty of healthy carbs tend to live longer, healthier lives by lower their risk of many chronic diseases. When you’re receiving the energy you need to be active by getting all the nutrients your body needs, your quality of life improves.
10. Restriction is not healthy.
There’s a notion that limiting carbs makes a person healthier. A healthy diet is about eating all foods, enjoying your favorite dishes and feeling comfortable. Any food can be part of a healthy diet, as long as we do so through balance.
Feelings of guilt are less healthy for you in the long run!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: MONIKA GRABKOWSKA
Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN is a nationally-recognized media spokesperson and private practice dietitian based in Los Angeles, who shares her love of health and wellness through a unique global perspective. From world-class U.S. medical centers to rural villages in Africa, Mascha has dedicated herself to traveling the world, spreading her love of healthy living through both her humanitarian work and private practice. Learn more at Nomadista Nutrition.