Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

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good-carbs-bad-carbs pyramid

Everybody needs carbohydrates. It is a macronutrient that the body needs on a daily basis for it to do its functions properly. Carbs, however, are not created equal. If you are aiming for either wellness or weight loss, it is very important that you know the different types of carbohydrates. Yes, there are so-called good and bad carbohydrates. You should know which ones to eat and which ones to avoid. This article is aimed to provide you a better insight into the differences between bad and good carbs and the importance of carbs in everyone’s diet.

What are carbs?

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are what the body needs to create glucose, the body’s main energy source. Glucose is, in fact, a type of sugar that can be immediately used for energy or stored away for future use. When you take in carbohydrates, the body turns these into glycogen. They can be used for energy right away and provide a stable dose of blood sugar. They can also get stored in the liver or in the muscles for future use. Carbs are either complex or simple. Complex or the good carbohydrates are made of 3 or more sugar molecules that are joined together. Simple carbohydrates, meanwhile, are made of only one or two linked sugar molecules. These are easier to break down for the body to use.

Good Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are good carbs. They take longer time to break down than simple ones. They cause blood glucose to rise less and over a longer period of time. This helps maintain a steady supply of blood sugar. These are found in grains, vegetables, nuts, fruits, and seeds. Whole grains and their products are a good source of complex carbohydrates. Among these are wheat germ, barley, millet, wild rice, brown rice, oats, oat bran, cornmeal, and amaranth. Good carbs are also found in fruits and vegetable like apricots, oranges, plums, pears, all types of lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, black beans, and soy beans, among others.

Bad Carbs

Bad carbs are coined as bad simply because they raise blood sugar causing excessive insulin secretion which can lead to weight gain and health problems. The bad carbs include the simple, high-fat, and refined carbs. Simple carbs are considered bad ones. Because they are easier to break down, they cause a spike in blood sugar level that quickly dissolves. Simple carbohydrates are found in soda; fruit juices; table and other syrups; products made of white flour like white bread, white pasta and packaged cereals; sweets; natural sweeteners like honey; cakes; cookies; biscuits; yoghurt, and jam.

In addition, there are high-fat bad carbs that one should consume sparingly. The examples are pizza, apple pie, pretzels, tortilla chips, cheeseburgers with buns, bean burritos, egg rolls, milk shakes, chocolate ice cream, croissants, glazed doughtnuts, macaroni and cheese, and choco cake, among others. Refined carbs taken in large quantities are also considered bad carbs. These include french fries, refined fruit juices like tomato or apple juice, and white pasta.

Why You Should Have Carbs in Your Diet

Because the body needs energy to do its work, carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet. In fact, 45 to 65 percent of your caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. Carbs fuel the body’s cellular activities. Limiting carbs intake may cause several health problems. If the body lacks carbs, it will try to adjust and this can cause mood swings, nausea, weakness, dizziness, and even depression. It will burn fat and proteins instead of carbohydrates putting you in a condition called ketosis. In such cases, your body produces ketones that can show up in your saliva and cause bad breath. A disturbing effect is the inability to think straight because your brain lacks fuel.

Weight loss programs, however, require low-carbs diet. Carbs are simply sugar, and simple sugars can make you gain weight. Hence, the ideal carbs for weight loss are those that are high in fiber for they provide optimal nutrition. Fiber lowers cholesterol level, regulates blood sugar, reduce hemorrhoids and constipation, and helps in the prevention of some cancer types. At the same time, fiber gives a sense of fullness. Unlike simple carbs that dissipate quickly making you want to eat more, fibrous and complex carbs make you feel fuller longer because these are more difficult to digest and break down. When you feel fuller, you are less likely to get a second serving.

You need not avoid carbs. It is a vital part of everyone’s diet. You just need to learn about your choices and pick only the healthy sources so that you can avoid health problems and achieve your ideal weight.

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