Carbohydrates or commonly referred to as “carbs” are macronutrient found within our diet. Over the past couple years many people have fallen into the stigma trap that carbs are “bad” for you. Many people associate carbs with undesirable weight gain. Registered Dietitian Julia Zumpano states, “But it’s the type and quantity of the carbs you eat — not carbohydrates themselves — that cause weight gain.” Below is a simple breakdown of carbohydrates to further obtain a better understanding of this nutrient.
What do carbohydrates do?
Once a carbohydrate is consumed, it is broken down into glucose and used throughout our body, cells, and metabolic functions as energy. This energy is used to help us perform daily routines, task, and regulatory functions such as breathing. Carbohydrates are extremely vital to your body that these nutrients when leftover are stored as glycogen in our muscles and liver. You body stores these nutrients to ensure that your body has plenty of fuel in your tank before you are running on empty.
What are “good” carbs?
Carbohydrates are known to be found in grain products. This includes breads, baking products, crackers, pastas, and more. Choosing whole grains over refined grains provide a more wholesome and nutritious option to incorporate in your diet. Carbohydrates can also be broken down into high-fiber carbs and high-protein carbs.
High-fiber carbs: whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and legumes
High-protein carbs: legumes, milk, and yogurt
What are “bad” carbs?
The bad reputation of carbs descends from foods that have additive sugar and immoderate calories. Some examples of carbs that you should eat in moderation are desserts, white bread, white rice, and other refined grains. Products that are refined grains are viewed as less healthier because they are stripped of their nutritional content which include B vitamins, protein, and fiber.
How many should you eat?
The amount of carbs you should be consuming will be dependent on your caloric intake. It has been suggested that you should consume 45% to 65% of your daily calories from carbohydrates. If you are trying to lose weight limiting carbohydrates to one cup per meal is a general rule of thumb to keep you on track.
After reading this article I hope you can take away the importance of carbohydrates. When eating carbohydrates, selecting healthier options such as high-fiber carbs or high-protein carbs will help you increase the quality of your diet. Remember, it is never encouraged to deprive yourself of particular foods instead teach yourself how to consume a balanced diet!
Resources: Are Carbs Really That Bad for You — or Not? Cleveland Clinic website. Updated January 3, 2018. Accessed on January 18, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/good-carb-bad-carb-dont-buy-into-4-myths/#:~:text=Eating%20carbohydrates%20raises%20your%20blood,contain%20excess%20calories%20and%20sugar.%E2%80%9D