The Truth About Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates (more commonly known as ‘carbs’) – love them, hate them, can’t get away from them! If you have ever tried reading up about carbs, it is very likely that you have come across conflicting information. For example, some athletes love carbs as it helps fuel their body, but some people believe that a low-carb diet is the only way to get fit! So what really is the truth about carbohydrates? Keep reading to find out!

    What are carbohydrates?

    Carbs are one of the three main macronutrients that deliver energy to your body for daily functions. Carbohydrate is the umbrella term that includes sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose), complex molecules like cellulose (fibre), and starch. Your body breaks down the carbs in your body to glucose, which provides energy to your cells to perform activities.

    What is the difference between simple carbs and complex carbs?

    Your body breaks down and digests simple carbs faster, triggering a spike in blood sugar levels. Most simple carbs contain a lower amount of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other essential nutrients. Some simple carbs found in fruits and dairy products have a higher nutritional value.

    On the other hand, your body takes more time to digest complex carbs. This ensures a steady supply of energy to the body. Complex carbs help keep your blood sugar more stable and are an excellent source of fibre and other essential nutrients.

    Why do I need carbohydrates?

    Carbs are the primary source of energy for your body. Apart from fueling your daily activities, carbs also:
    • Aid in digestion and prevent digestive issues like constipation
    • Keep blood cholesterol level in check
    • Prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue
    • Help you feel satiated and full so you avoid overeating
    Related: Everything You Need To Know About Protein

    What are the healthiest sources of carbs?

    When looking for healthy sources of carbs that fuel your body the right way, look for nutrient-rich foods, also known as “good carbs.”

    The following are some of the most common healthy sources of carbs that should be a part of your diet:

    • Grains like wheat, quinoa, rice, oats
    • Fruits like bananas, apples, berries, and melons
    • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, peas
    • Legumes like lentils, beans, chickpeas
    • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt

    Some common unhealthy sources of carbs include highly processed and refined foods like cold drinks, biscuits, chips, cakes, white bread, and other “junk food items.”

    While it is okay to treat yourself to your favourite foods once in a while, consume them in moderation and use healthy carbs as your main energy source.

    What happens if I eat too many carbs?

    While it is true that carbs are an important source of energy for your body, consuming excess carbs can have the following adverse effects:
    • Weight gain
    • Fatigue and lethargy
    • Gassiness, bloating, and constipation
    • Increased sugar cravings
    • Acne and breakouts
    • Increased cholesterol
    • Trouble concentrating
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