Carbohydrates. They are one of the most misunderstood things when it comes to diet. When we think of carbs, we think: chocolate cake, bad, weight gain. While this can be true, it is only part of the story.
Carbohydrate is a massive branch, we commonly divide it into two subsections:
- Simple Carbohydrates
- Complex Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are sugars. Typically people assume that they should avoid these kinds of carbohydrates, although this is not necessarily the case. Since a simple carbohydrate is only comprised of only a couple molecules, it is very easy for the body to break down and thus a very quick source of energy.
As with anything, there are good simple carbs, and not so good simple carbs. An example of good simple carbs would be fruit, while refined sugar would be on the list of not so good carbs.
Complex carbohydrates are longer chains of sugars strung together. Since it takes longer for the body to break these molecules down, there is a slower release of energy compared to simple carbs. These carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber in addition to energy.
Examples of complex carbohydrates:
- Whole grains
Why Do We Need Carbs?
Energy. Carbohydrates provide energy much faster than fats or proteins.
Fiber. Fiber is important for digestion, reduces the risk of certain cancers, and even reduce cholesterol.
Calories. Carbs actually have fewer calories per gram than fats. This means they can actually be better for a weight loss plan!
Carbs For Weight Loss
Despite what Kim K may say, eating carbs can actually help you lose weight more than not eating carbs. The difference is the quality of the carbs. Generally speaking, it is ideal to opt for complex carbs, but if you are craving sweets, then fruit is your life saver!
The best form of carbohydrates for you will be those that are minimally processed (whole grains, fruits, nuts, veggies) and those that you will want to reduce are the processed sorts (breads, pastries, pops, candy, etc).
Maximize Your Day With Carbohydrates
Breakfast: Start your day with some oats (nothing instant or processed) or some other unprocessed whole grain. Look for something that has at least 4g of fiber and less than 8g of sugar per serving! Add some plain greek yogurt and berries to make the perfect breakfast!
Snack: Everyone loves fruit juice, but having actual fruit is far better for you, there is less sugar and more fiber.
Lunch: Skip the white bread for your sandwich! Find something that lists a whole grain as the first ingredient or that is 100% whole wheat. Or, if you can’t read the ingredients on the package opt for a salad made with whole grains such as a quinoa or brown rice salad. These salads can also be an excellent way of getting some extra veggies and you can add a protein source to it as well!
Dinner: Potatoes are delicious and filling, but they have a high glycemic index (read more on Why A Calorie Isn’t Just A Calorie (in simple-ish English)). Instead of potatoes opt for beans! Beans take longer to digest and are packed with protein and other nutrients!