Good Versus Bad Carbs
You’ve probably heard that someone managed to lose weight by cutting down on carbohydrates. Before you try to do the same, you should learn more about the different types of carbs and the effects they have on your body. Carbohydrates are nutrients that are an essential part of every healthy diet. Although you may often read about how carbs cause type 2 diabetes and that you should be avoiding them, it’s important to know the difference between good and bad carbohydrates.
Before we get to that, let’s talk about what carbs are. Carbohydrates are molecules that contain oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms. They are referred to as one of the three macronutrients, the other two being fat and protein. Their main role is to provide you with energy. Carbs either get broken down into glucose that you can use as energy or they get turned into fat and stored so you can use them as energy later.
Carbohydrates should be consumed the most out of the previously mentioned three macromolecules. About 45% to 65% of the calories you consume on a daily basis should come from carbohydrates. Protein should cover 10% to 35% of your calories, while fat should cover 20% to 35%.
Carbs are divided into three different categories – sugars, fiber, and starches. They can be either simple or complex based on their chemical makeup. Simple carbohydrates consist of basic sugars that are easy to digest and are an important source of energy. Some of them are naturally occurring and found in foods like milk and fruit, while others refer to refined or processed sugars that are often added to products like soda, baked goods, and candy. They appear on nutrition labels under several different names like corn syrup, maltose, glucose, corn sweetener, fructose, malt syrup, sucrose, and others.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates contain longer chains of sugar molecules and are found in starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Your body takes a lot more time in order to break down and use complex carbs.
Basically, good carbs are found in products such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and legumes. Although eating any foods from these four groups will definitely have a positive effect on your overall health, you should also choose foods rich in fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient that is tasked with slowing down the absorption of other nutrients you eat at the same meal.
By slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, fiber will help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and lower your blood cholesterol levels. On top of that, fiber will make you feel full, which will surely help you cut down on any unnecessary or unhealthy snacks.
Bad carbohydrates can easily be divided into three different categories – sugars, refined white grains, and added sugars. People generally consume too much sugar on a daily basis. One of the main problems people face is excessive consumption of added sugars. Also known as caloric sweeteners, added sugars are syrups and sugars that get put in foods during preparation or processing. They contain a lot of calories, but have few to no nutrients.
In order to maintain a healthy diet with fewer bad carbs you will need to cut down on products like energy drinks, pastries, candy, soda, cookies, sweetened beverages, and ice cream.
Despite the fact that a diet consisting of too many bad carbohydrates often causes numerous health problems, many people still choose to go on low-fat diets. However, know that in many of the low-fat products that you can find in your local supermarket, sugar is being substituted for fat. You should definitely avoid these products, since they will only increase your intake of bad carbs.