I hear a lot of talk about carbohydrates being ‘the enemy’ from all different sources: clients, diet books, sensationalized news segments, the list goes on…
Many people believe that carbohydrates are the root of their dieting “failures”. It probably doesn’t help that popular fad diets advertise a carb-free life.
I would never advise that someone exclude an entire food group. It’s a food group for a reason. It is meant to provide nutrients that your body needs.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Carbs – Myths & Truths
I want to bust a few myths about carbohydrates so that you too can see how the information you’ve heard is skewed.
Myth no. 1:
Carbohydrates make you hungry sooner.
Not necessarily. Carbohydrates come in two forms: refined grains and whole grains.
Refined grains such as sugary cereals, muffins, white bread and white rice have minimal sustenance. The reason they’re called refined is because most of their nutrients have been stripped away.
What happens is that these foods are easily broken down in your gut and can make you hungrier sooner.
What you can do to combat hunger is actually consume whole grains. Whole grains, like oats, brown rice and barley are rich in fiber and digest slowly. This keeps you feeling full for prolonged periods of time.
Myth no 2:
You don’t need to eat carbohydrate-containing foods like grains.
As I mentioned before, grains are a food group for a reason.
Grains provide many B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin), fiber and nutrients that your body cannot go without. Not to mention energy. People who skip carbohydrates throughout their day often feel achy and lethargic. That’s no coincidence.
Carbohydrates are what mostly keep your body fueled.
There is no worse feeling than a groggy morning. Breakfasts low in energy can actually lead you to eat more the rest of the day. One of the main constituents of healthy carbohydrates is fiber.
Fiber is something that is seriously underrated.
Aside from the fact that fiber keeps you full, fiber can actually lower your cholesterol, stabilize your blood sugars and decrease your risk for a number of diseases specifically gastrointestinal cancers.
Living a well-rounded life by being active and eating a variety of whole foods is how you can keep your immune system strong.
Carbs are keeping you from losing weight.
It’s no question that low carbohydrate diets are popular for weight loss. Foods like bread, rice, pasta, crackers, barley, and semolina are often the foods that diet books quickly denounce. However these foods are actually essential for your weight loss, when chosen properly.
Here’s why: consuming low carbohydrate meals restrict you from making smart food choices.
Without calories from healthy grains, many people turn to foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol instead.
These high fat diets can lead to weight gain and even lead to haphazard lipid levels which can put your heart at risk for disease.
Instead of limiting all carbs when trying to lose weight, its best to avoid refined grains, processed foods and high sugared snack foods, and instead choose whole grains and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and quinoa with each meal.
Myth no. 4:
Limiting carbs helps you burn fat.
Here’s the truth that many dieting books aren’t telling you – the initial weight loss that you find by following a low-carb diet is mostly water.
Think about this, when you limit your carbohydrate intake, there isn’t a normal amount of sugar floating around in your blood like there should be. Your body pulls sugar from your glycogen stores to provide energy to the body.
At least three grams of water is needed to release one gram of glycogen. This water is excreted in your urine.
When the carbohydrate stores are used up, your body relies on other sources of energy storage and that rapid weight loss will eventually even out.
Weight loss is about making healthy food selections in all of the food groups, not by limiting one
Now that you have updated information about carbohydrates and your health, you may want to second guess that diet book you recently picked up.
Never listen to advice that tells you to eliminate a food group! It won’t do you any good.
Connect with Expert Bonnie Giller