This may come as a surprise to you, If you're trying to lose weight, don't stop eating carbs!
Carbs are essential for providing your body with the energy it needs to keep going, despite what you may have heard and repeatedly been told about carbohydrates being bad for you. They've gotten a bad rap and I'm here to dispel some of the misguided rumors.
Eat Your Carbs!
“45%-60% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. If that number surprises you, it shouldn't, carbs are essential part of bodily function.”
Health and Human Services and the USDA are the governing body within the US government which set forth dietary guidelines for Americans every 5 years. These guidelines help aid the public in making smart choices when it comes to their food and drink.
How many carbohydrates should I be consuming per day?
It is popular belief among the general public, celebrities, and magazines that cutting carbs is the secret to weight-loss. There are many fad diets out there that promote cutting out whole food groups, which is just plain wrong and quite frankly dangerous. In an attempt to drop significant weight, people are cutting out or restricting carbohydrates. Carbs have unfairly received a bad rap and a very important macronutrient. Dietary guidelines recommend that in the average healthy individual, 45%-60% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. If that number surprises you, it shouldn't, carbs are essential part of bodily function. When you consume carbohydrates your body breaks down the carbs and turns them into glucose (blood sugar) which is stored and used in the form of energy. Glucose is extremely important to your body and therefore carbohydrates are essential for your body to function.
So I can eat all the cakes, donuts, and cookies I want?
“There's such a thing as good carbs and bad carbs!”
I hate to be the carb police, but I've got to break it down for you - no, this does not give you a pass to go eat cakes, donuts, and cookies. There is such a thing as good carbs and bad carbs!
Here's the low down:
There's complex carbs (good) and simple carbs (bad). Complex carbs are primarily made of starch and fiber, which aid in proper digestion, gut health, and are an excellent source of vitamins such as B-vitamins, iron, calcium, and folate. Simple carbs come in the form of refined sugars.
Several examples of complex carbs can be found in (but not limited to):
whole wheat bread, whole wheat pastas, whole wheat crackers
refined white/raw sugar
corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
glucose, fructose, and sucrose
fruit juice concentrate
Food for thought...
While overeating anything is a good way to pack on pounds, eating carbohydrates are not going to make you gain weight! It is a pretty good idea to stick with the recommended food guidelines and do not cut out any one food group from your diet. However, when it comes to simple carbs (bad) I would say STAY away from these types of carbs as your body doesn't need them to function and eating any unnecessary processed sugars is never a good idea for anyone. When it comes to fad diets, sure they can work. The idea behind Atkins diet, Keto diet, and other carb restrictive diets is to eliminate carb/sugar consumption forcing your body to tap into and use all the fat stores in your body leading to weight-loss. Sure this can work and does work, however these diets are not sustainable and used for the long term can have negative and dangerous effects on your body, leading to malnutrition, bone-loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, chronic diseases, gastrointestinal stress, just to name a few.
There are exceptions and circumstances in which certain health issues arise and certain individuals have a health condition which requires the restrictions of certain food groups and those should always be discussed with your primary health provider or registered dietitian/nutritionist.
Eating a well-balanced diet with proper nutrition from every macronutrient (including carbs) and exercising is an excellent way to keep your body in-shape, at a healthy weight, and keep you looking great and staying happy.