Carbohydrates can be completely confusing: Some sources claim that eating carbohydrates can prevent weight loss and lead to weight gain; others argue that carbohydrates are an important diet. Read on to learn the truth about carbs.
There are rumors that eating carbohydrates can be harmful to your diet. Low carb diets have gone through periods of extremely popular weight loss.
But here’s the deal:
Reality: Carbohydrates do not make you gain weight; Excess calories do
Carbohydrates do not cause sudden weight gain, but starchy carbohydrates tend to be high in calories. And if you eat too many calories, you will probably lose weight, whether those calories are from carbohydrates or another nutrient. Of course, the problem is if your diet consists only of carbohydrates, but it is also problematic if you skip them completely. Carbohydrates play an important role in your diet; they provide energy to your body. The name of the game is balance: the USDA recommends that 45 to 65% of an adult’s daily calorie intake be from carbohydrates, and the remaining calories come from a mixture of protein and fat.
When it comes to carbohydrates, there are a few things to keep in mind
- Not all carbohydrates are created equal.
Some carbohydrates are better for your health than others. It is important to limit the refined carbohydrates that predominate in foods such as processed white bread and pastries.
The refining process means that the whole grain is extracted, removing much of the fiber and nutritional value and leaving you with sugary carbs and empty calories.
A better way to fill your daily quota is with complex carbohydrates found in whole foods such as oats, whole grains, beans, green vegetables and potatoes.
Complex carbohydrates are low in sugar and high in fiber. And fiber takes more time than other carbohydrates to break down, so it satisfies you and makes you feel full for a long time. This is definitely true for me – if I enjoy something like an apple, I’m much less likely to get to a sugar bar later in the day.
- Even complex carbohydrates can be high in calories, so watch your portions.
Always read nutrient labels and control portions. One of my favorite ways to enjoy moderate-calorie carbs is to increase the amount of serving low-calorie foods like vegetables: You get the health benefits of carbs, plus a large portion and a low-calorie count!