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To carb or not to carb? Why adding more carbs is not so bad after all!

To carb or not to carb? Why adding more carbs is not so bad after all!

Everywhere you go you hear people talking about how eating carbs are bad for you. Health gurus, nutritionists (e.g. Banting diet proponents), fitness experts and even some chefs are condemning carbohydrates as evil!

Are we really expected to cut bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and sugar from our diet? Is there such a thing as a ‘good carb’? In their healthy form, carbs CAN be good for you!

We take a look at why including carbs in your diet  is important for your health and good for you!

Understanding carbohydrates

For a long time, carbs have gotten a bad rap and being blamed for weight gain, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It is important to understand the role that carbohydrates play in your body and what happens when you aren’t getting enough of them.

Carbohydrates provide the body and brain with energy. Think of your body as a car that needs fuel to run. Your body also needs fuel to work – but in the form of carbohydrates. After you eat, carbohydrates are broken into smaller units of sugar called glucose (also referred to as blood sugar) which travels through the bloodstream to provide energy to your muscles and other tissues.

Carbohydrates help to prevent the breakdown of proteins for energy. When you eat enough carbs in your diet, you are making sure that your body is provided with all its energy needs. However, if your body is not getting enough carbs or you are using them up too quickly (often happens during a heavy workout), your body is then forced to break down proteins for energy.
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Good and bad carbs

Nowadays, everyone has jumped on the Banting diet wagon, removed carbs from their diet and replaced them with high protein, high fat foods. The thing is not all carbs are bad for you! Yes, you get good carbs and you get bad carbs!

There are different types of carbohydrates and it’s a good idea to know what they are. The three types are categorized as fiber, starch and sugar.

Fibre and starch are complex carbohydrates while sugar is a simple carbohydrate.

• Fibre digests more slowly, helps you to feel satisfied for longer after eating and balances energy levels. Itis also good for weight loss, diabetes, heart and digestive health. Fibre is available in apples, bananas, pears, raisin, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
• Starch is found in rice, pasta, bran, wholewheat bread, oats and corn.
• Simple carb foods are refined sugars, maple syrup, corn syrup, white flour, white rice and pasta, cereals, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, cake and sweets. These carbs cause spikes in blood sugar, alter your mood and lead to cravings as well as compulsive eating. As you can tell, these are the bad carbs which contain very little nutritional value and are responsible for unwanted weight gain.
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Why carbs are good for your health

Your body needs carbs because depriving it of them in the long-term will definitely upset your metabolism. If your body doesn’t get  adequate amounts of carbs, you will crave them which most likely will end up in a binge-fest.

Strive for a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fat in your diet but don’t remove carbs totally. It is recommended that your daily meal should consist of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat.

Including the right combination of good carbs into your diet will help to balance blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. Healthy carbs also have powerful disease fighting abilities and have shown to be beneficial for heart disease, chronic inflammation, digestive problems, metabolic syndrome and cancer.

If you are going to remove carbs from your diet, remove the unhealthy ones! Ditch the processed and refined foods and replace with healthy carb choices to keep you looking and feeling fabulous all year round.
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