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Understanding Carbs

  By posted Feb 21st 2011
Healthy Living

 

How many times have you heard the terms “carbohydrates” and “bad” in the same sentence? You’ve probably lost count of it by now because in recent times low carb diets and fads have made carbohydrates out to be the enemy. While they aren’t completely wrong, they very conveniently forget to talk about the benefits of the good carbohydrates. But before we delve into the good and bad, let’s take a minute to understand what carbs really are and how they benefit us.

Like protein and fat, carbohydrates are an extremely important source of energy for the entire body. Irrespective of whether you work out or not, your body must consume a certain amount of carbs per day to sustain itself and perform all of its daily tasks (that most of us take for granted today). 

Now that you’ve understood why your body needs carbs, you need to understand which one it needs. There are two types of carbohydrates – simple (bad dudes) and complex (good guys). Simple carbs are high in sugar and low in fiber that add on calories without any serious benefits. Avoid them even if you’re not on a diet because they pump you up with empty calories. However fruits - that contain natural sugar called fructose - are good for you as they are provide valuable minerals and nutrients without an excessive amount of calories. In short try avoiding all man-made simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbs on the other had are rich in fiber (that promote healthy bowel movement) and are a constant source of energy for your body throughout the day. People looking to go on a diet should turn to complex carbs simply because they fill you up a lot faster thanks to their high content of fiber, making sure you consume less throughout the day. Not to mention the fact that they’re a constant supply of minerals and vitamins as well.

Now that you know which carbs to consume and which ones to avoid, here are a few basic examples of good and bad carbs:

Complex/Good Carbs

Whole wheat Pasta/Macaroni/Spaghetti
Brown rice
Whole wheat bread
Sweet Potatoes (Yam)
Wholegrain cereals
Oatmeal
Porridge oats
All bran products like Wheetabix etc.
Peas
Beans
Lentils

Simple/Bad Carbs

White sugar
Cakes
Biscuits
Jam
Chocolate
Boiled sweets
Soft drinks
Tinned fruits
Pickle
And pretty much everything sinful you love eating.

 

 

 

 

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