Carbohydrates And Why We Need Them.
CCarbs are not the enemy. They give you all the energy you need during the day, so do not judge them that easily. It is true that there are carbohydrates that are healthier than others, so all you need is to find out which ones you should eat. It is necessary to eat them to keep a balanced diet, so we are going to tell you everything you need to know!
What is the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates?
Both of them will give you a boost of extra energy, but the way they do this is not the same. We can see two main differences:
- While simple carbohydrates are digested quickly, making your glucose level rise up in a short time, complex carbohydrates will take longer doing so, and immediate levels of glucose will not be affected that much.
- You can find simple carbohydrates in fruits, milk, yogurt, industrial pastries, white sugar, sodas, candy... Here you have to be extra careful, not to exceed with the lasts ones, as they contain a high amount of refined sugars; Complex carbohydrates can be found mostly in vegetables like spinach or broccoli, whole grains, potatoes, and legumes. You should take this type of carbohydrate over the simple ones, as they contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
How does the body process carbohydrates?
The body will decompose both types of carbohydrates into simple sugars, so they can be processed and added to the bloodstream. What happens then? Well, while the sugar level increases, the pancreas will release insulin, which moves the sugar from earlier to the cells, so we can have energy.
That is the reason why foods with more refined sugar will increase our sugar levels suddenly (they decompose really fast), while complex carbohydrates will allow your system to do it gradually.
How many carbohydrates do you need?
Most experts recommend ingesting around 45% and 65% of your daily calories as carbohydrates. Now, the ones that you choose to ingest will play a huge role in your nutrition. At this point, we made clear that complex carbohydrates should be the main ones in your diet, but that does not mean you have to completely eliminate simple carbohydrates: Fruits or dairy products are necessary for a complete menu, as long as we do not eat them excessively.
CARBOHYDRATES AND YOUR HEALTH
Now you have a lot of info to analyze the carbs you are currently eating. We are going to describe how these affect your health in three different ways:
It is a fact that we all have routines, and have to live our daily life. And we really need the energy to do it! How do we get it? Exactly, through our carbs! We already know how they work, and we have to tell you again... They are totally indispensable! Do not let anybody fool you: keep healthy, that is the absolute best option for your body. Eat your vegetables, kids!
Protecting against diseases
Of course, we are talking about always getting the right amount of carbohydrates... But you need more than just carbs to balance your feeding! Now that this is clear, we are going to talk about what diseases can you prevent by eating enough carbs:
- If you get enough fiber from whole-grain foods in your daily diet, it will help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease or strokes.
- Fiber is also amazing to prevent some diseases like obesity or diabetes type 2, and it also improves considerably intestinal transit. Moreover, it will make you feel full, and it even helps to adjust glucose and cholesterol in your blood.
- Eating starch in moderation can make your immunological system stronger, help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, and with insulin sensitivity.
Getting a good amount of healthy carbs will reduce your appetite, as foods like fruits, vegetables, or whole-grain foods will make you feel fuller with fewer calories. A diet with the right amount of calories will definitely help you to control your weight, as you will not feel that hungry all the time.
Do you want an extra tip? Try eating a piece of fruit, like an apple, a pear, or a peach before eating your lunch or dinner. You will not need that much quantity of food to feel satisfied!
CHOOSE YOUR CARBOHYDRATES WISELY
We have been talking about carbs the whole time, but it is time to define what kind of carbohydrates you can find, and what are they, do not you think? Let's find out the whole info right here!
What is fiber?
Fiber is the healthiest carb you can find. It comes from vegetables and plants, and it is really, really important when it comes to keeping your colon microflora in a good state and defecate properly. It is awesome to prevent constipation, obesity, and colon cancer.
We can find two different types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber, which you can find in foods like oat bran, nuts, seeds, fruits, or vegetables, is great for helping control your cholesterol. It makes your digestion slower, but it is totally worth it.
- Insoluble fiber, which is present in foods like wheat bran, whole-grain foods, or vegetables, will make your lunch stay less time in your stomach.
The foods with higher levels of fiber are green peas, carrots, turnips, cereals, raspberries, apples, pears, oatmeal, citric, and legumes. If you do not eat them yet, this is the perfect time to include them in your diet!
What are starches?
This type of carbohydrate comes from vegetable sources, such as potatoes, rice, or grains. Our body can absorb it so quickly, that is an awesome boost of energy. But, what types of starches can we find? Basically three different ones:
- Rapidly digestive starches. These ones take less than 20 minutes to absorb the glucose, so they can induce high levels of sugar in your blood in a short time. Because of this, they are not recommended for people who suffer from diabetes. Where can we find it? Easy, if you over boil foods with high content in starches.
- Slowly digestive starches. If you do not over-boil foods like potatoes, pasta, or rice, we get this kind of starches. It takes longer to be absorbed, so we can control better our sugar levels.
- Resistant starches. This special type is not absorbed in the thin intestine, but the intestinal flora can ferment it. We find them in raw grains and legumes, raw tubercles like potatoes, green bananas, or junk food.
What are sugars?
This simple carb takes a really short time to be absorbed, so if you have sugar issues, you cannot eat them excessively. Here, we can differentiate two types:
- Natural sugars, which we can find in fruits (fructose) or dairy products (lactose).
- Added sugars, which you can find in refined products like pastries, cookies, sugar, syrups, or even honey.
What happens when you avoid carbohydrates?
Here is what happens when you do not get any carbs: in the first weeks, you lose weight, but not fat. Why is that? Because your body gets dehydrated. You might think this is awesome, and carbs are awful, but then you get really hungry and frustrated, as you have a huge lack of energy. You are getting none!
Then, if you eat carbs again, your body gets hydrated again and, of course, you gain weight (but it is actually the natural and necessary liquids of our bodies). You do not get fatter, just normal. That is why most people think that carbs make you gain weight, but it is totally false.
The glycemic index
What is it? It classifies foods with carbs according to how much they increase your sugar levels. The highest levels are usually related to less healthy foods, like sweets and pastries with refined sugars.
Does avoiding carbs at night help with weight?
As we said earlier, if you stop eating any carbs, the only weight you are going to lose is from necessary liquids, and you will get it back sooner or later. So the answer is no.
Should I try a high or low-carb diet?
Let's go to the point: No. If you want to have a healthy diet, you should not either exceed the right consumption of carbs or stop it. If you get too many carbohydrates for a long time, it can cause diseases like obesity, diabetes, or arterial hypertension; If you stop getting carbohydrates, it can lead to diseases like cardiac arrhythmia, hypoglycemia, or atherosclerosis. Not nice in any case!
Can carbohydrates lead to diabetes?
Yes. If you include in your diet too many carbohydrates, for a really long period of time (especially if they come from refined sugars), it can lead to diabetes.
Do low-carb diets work?
They work for a really short period of time because, as we said, the weight you are losing comes from liquids that you are going to need to survive, so you will end up getting them back. If you really want to lose weight, plan a balanced diet, with all the nutrients you need, and cutting off the unnecessary ones (like refined sugars), and get regular exercise. You can do it!