You can guess from the title that today’s topic is all about carbohydrates a.k.a carbs. The reason that I chose this topic is because they are still people in the world that look at carbs as the enemy, breaking them down into categories such as good carbs and bad carbs. Some people still think that you can’t eat certain carb sources and still look good. The fact that people still have this mentality is really upsetting. 😞
The Science of Carbs
Carbohydrates are macronutrients, meaning that they are one of the three main ways that the body obtains its fuel, energy or calories. It is also the fiber, starches and sugars that are found in fruits, vegetables, grains and milk products. It is essentially one of the main food groups that is important to have and maintain a healthy life. They provide energy for our muscles and fuel for our central nervous system (CNS), our cells, our tissues and our organs. The brain uses the carbs we eat to influence mood, memory and more. It is a required food source for our brains to function.
Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs
The distinction between simple and complex carbs are arbitrary. The distinction is only exists in their molecular structure and how quickly the body digests and absorbs them. Single carbs have one or two sugars whilst complex carbs have three or more sugars. Simple carbs include fructose, lactose and sucrose whilst complex carbs are mainly starches like legumes, potatoes, rice and grain products. Moreover, they include dietary fiber that can be insoluble and soluble. Below is a diagram that explains their differences:
Benefits of Carbohydrates
Combining all the information together, what can carbs do for except provide energy for your muscles, fuel your CNS, tissues, organs and cells? A lot, in fact.
- Prevention of diseases: Whole grains and dietary fiber from complex carbs help reduce cardiovascular diseases
- Weight control: Eating a sufficient amount of fruits, vegetables and grains can help control your weight as the bulk and fiber content help you feel fuller with fewer calories, if done properly.
- Improving digestion system: Fiber-rich carbohydrates like oatmeal, beans, broccoli etc. prevent you from contracting symptoms associated with an unhealthy digestive system such as constipation. The insoluble fibers found in carbs assist with pushing foods down the digestive tract speeding the digestive process.
- Mood booster: The hormone serotonin is also known as the good-feeling hormone. Eating enough carbs stimulates the production of this hormone in the body, thus boosting your mood.
- Improving quality of sleep: Eating an adequate amount of carbs can assist with improving sleep quality due to the hormone serotonin. This ensures that we sleep with the highest quality and wake up afresh in the morning.
- Sharpen memory: As your brain requires carbohydrates for fuel in order to function properly, this is one of the ways in which it uses the fuel it gets from them.
Discover more benefits here.
Categorising Foods is Bad for You
Lastly, there is no such thing as good or bad carbs. Yes there are carbs that are better for you than others but consuming both complex and carbs does not prevent you from reaching your health goals. You can still live a sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle eating wholesome foods like complex carbs and consuming simple carbs in moderation. It’s all about the best of both worlds.
Categorising food as good and bad is detrimental to your health and your relationship with food. I recommend focusing on getting your nutrients, vitamins and minerals from wholesome foods and complex carbs but at the same time, consume foods such as pasta, sweets, ice cream and the sorts in moderation. By associating foods into categories will not only tempt you to eating the ‘forbidden fruit’ more; but could also cause some other eating disorder to develop.
I hope you learnt something from this post and understand that you can still look like your hot self by eating a variety of carb sources.
Until next time,
Folakemi Olamide 😉