There’s been so much talk about low carb and no carb diets and that “carbs” are “bad” for you. Honestly, God created proteins, carbohydrates and fats for us because our bodies need all three of these macronutrients. The quality of the carbohydrate foods you choose to include in your meals is what makes the difference between healthy and not-so-healthy carbs.
First of all, what are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are sugars found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes as well as grains. Carbs are the preferred source of energy for your brain and body. They are essential for good health. So, eating a no-carb diet is a disaster! In fact, the reason most people can’t stay on that kind of eating plan for long is because they can’t think clearly and are tired and cranky all the time!
There are two different types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs are actually simple sugars. Healthy simple carbs (yes, there are some!) are fresh, whole fruits. And because they are high in sugar, they are to be eaten in moderation. Simple carbs that cause problems are those made from refined white flour and sucrose or white, refined table sugar like cookies, cakes, candy, soda, doughnuts, etc.
Complex carbs, on the other hand, are also made up of sugars, as all carbohydrates are, but their molecules form longer, more complex chains and the foods themselves are fresh, unrefined and include fiber, vitamins and minerals. These healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains like oats, whole wheat, spelt and some seed-like grains.
The problem with eating too many refined, simple carbs is that they increase insulin levels by causing blood sugar levels to spike. This can lead to hypoglycemia and eventually diabetes. It’s a fact that sugar feeds cancers so that’s another reason to choose your carbs wisely.
Refined foods are also virtually void of any nutrition! They are empty calories that simply fill your belly (and extend your waist-line) but starve your cells! You can actually be overweight and malnourished!
So, here’s what I recommend: become aware of the quality of the carbohydrate foods you eat. Are your meals and snacks full of refined, simple carbs? I encourage you to clean out your kitchen and begin creating your meals and snacks around fresh, unprocessed complex carbs, beginning with lots of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Your budget and your waist-line with thank you!