O.M.G Carbs!", "I say no to carbs, but they just don't listen", "I'm on a low carb diet", or "I am on that diet where you cut the carbs, and all sugar and all the happiness".
Sounds familiar? Well, either we'v been there or have friends who say these things and spoil our weekend dinner plans. EYE ROLL!! Right!
Wait a minute! What are carbs?
What are Carbs?
Understand, the main purpose of carbohydrates or "carbs" is to provide energy to our body.
Carbs are of 3 types - Sugar, Starch, and Fiber.
Sugar or simple carbs get absorbed in the blood quickly. To know more about sugar, you may want to check this out.
Starch or complex carbs helps in the slow release of glucose in the bloodstream and controls the spike in our blood sugar levels. WIN-WIN!! Coz your tummy is gonna be full for longer!!
Fiber comes from plant food. Eating food high in fiber can improve digestion, lower blood sugar, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
I mean! It doesn't get any cooler than that!!
Why are we afraid of carbs?
Over intake of carbohydrates is linked to several diseases, mainly to; Diabetes (ineffective at controlling blood glucose) and Lactose-intolerance (lack of ability to digest lactose found in milk and other dairy product).
Processed food and refined sugars are harder for the body to get rid off, and it is difficult for our systems to break them down.
Sugars that are highly processed cause an immediate spike in blood sugar, known as empty calories - gives us no nutritional benefit.
How much carbs should we eat? **
Dietary guidelines suggest at least 1 bowl = 130g carbs /day. This is to provide our brain with adequate glucose (fuel for the brain).
How much carbohydrate each person needs is determined by the type of body size and activity level. Appetite, hunger and gender also play a vital role.
My friends say Rice is a bad carb!
Traditionally, rice is a staple in Asia. The Japanese eat rice 6 times or more in a day, including breakfast. Rice contains nutrients that help reduce toxins in the body. Vitamin B, E, potassium. Rice is low in fat and low in cholesterol.
How do we avoid bad carbs? What are the alternatives?
One can avoid highly refined or processed foods such as; Whitebread, Candy and Soda that provide empty calories. Carbs are one of the main classes of food and a source of energy. Simple carbs such as Fruits, Milk, Yogurt contains natural sugar and can also be beneficial to our body due to its protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral contents. One must increase the intake of complex foods like; Oats, Lentils, Beans, Brown rice, Vegetables. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Whether you count all you eat or follow one of the many food management methods available in the market. We recommend you to choose food that is rich in nutrients. Reach out for whole grains, lentils, fruits, vegetables and lean cuts of animal protein. We prefer whole foods that are unprocessed as the processed food such as cookies, chips, jams, and chocolate spreads contain a high amount of added sugar, oils and fats to increase the shelf life of the product.
This may sound a lot but don't be alarmed, nothing is impossible. Making small changes in our lifestyle and sticking to them will take us a long way.
This article is an overview of my opinion on food and nutrition. We recommend our readers to consult all the questions to a personal dietitian or physician. This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition of our readers.