Carbs; the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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Carbohydrates often get a bad rap. We take a deeper look at what exactly is a carb, how they affect the body & what types we should be consuming.

In recent times, the opinion on Carbohydrates has varied widely; fad diets quote carbs as being a food that should be struck from your plate completely while others rely heavily on carbohydrates for every meal of the day.  So which is it?

Personally, I think every food group needs to be included to have a balanced diet – everything in moderation! If you do not follow a healthy diet plan, no matter how much you exercise, your total fitness will not be as effective. Diet and exercise go hand in hand, both are needed to get fit and remain healthy. But how do I ensure I’m getting the very best nutrition from what I’m eating? Simple… Be informed!

Carbohydrates are paramount for meeting the body’s energy requirements. This becomes even more vital if the person is participating in regular exercise. With regular exercise, the body’s energy requirements go up. If the carbohydrate intake is reduced, there is no doubt that some people might see some initial reduction in weight loss, but this is not sustained in the long term. Having a low carbohydrate diet will gradually lead to an increase in lethargy and will lead to a gradual increase in weight after the initial weight loss. Often the initial weight loss is actually just the decrease of fluids from the cells, or water weight. This loss of fluids is not always healthy.

So now that we know why we need carbohydrates, how do we pick the best type to meet our energy needs?

What’s the difference between a sandwich made on white bread and one made with 100% whole grain bread? Or, the difference between chips and side salad made with spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and kidney beans?

All are carbohydrates but the second option in both examples are made up of complex or ‘good carbs’ (whole grains and vegetables.)

Good carbs are full of fiber and are absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.

Whereas ‘bad’ carbs are refined, processed carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fiber like white bread, white rice and white pasta.

By selecting good carbs in place of the bad ones you are giving your body the best fuel it can get.

Now you know, the choice is yours.

Check out some popular simple to complex carbs swaps.

 

To your Health & Fitness

Ciaran

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