We tackled protein last week, so today we are all about those carbs! My friends – carbs are NOT evil, and they are NOT your enemy! You do not have to avoid them. As you find with any and every thing, there are good and bad sources/types. Processed, sugary foods are never healthy choices for any of us. I suppose some forms of simple carbohydrates could be considered evil in the sense that they are SO tempting! This covers cookies, cakes, chips, donuts, muffins, etc. But there are SO MANY other forms of carbohydrates that are just packed with crucial nutrients that our bodies truly need!
There are various trendy diets that have led to faster weight loss for some, and there are a few who truly benefit from a true Keto diet. However, for most of us, what we are truly looking for is sustainable weight loss by losing body fat. Trendy diets are never successful long term because they aren’t sustainable or healthy for long term use. Changing your lifestyle to incorporate clean, healthy nutrition is your true key to success. Think about doing your grocery shopping around the aisles: fresh, whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and eggs. When it comes to carbohydrates, there really isn’t a valid reason to avoid them when you make healthy carb choices. For example, eat the oranges and peaches! Avoid the containers of packaged, processed chopped oranges and peaches. Yes, they last longer in your refrigerator; however, that means what you’re really getting is extra sugars and chemicals that are not in fresh, whole fruits. In addition to getting the extra garbage, you end up missing out on the benefits like vitamins and minerals! What’s the point?
Always check honest, respected sources when doing your research. (Always, ALWAYS, research any diet or nutritional advice you get from a friend or family member, especially where fad or trendy diets are concerned,) For our purposes today for carbohydrates, I checked into what information reidhealth.org, theclevelandclinic.com, eatingwell.com, and webmd.com had on carbs.
Let’s look at the benefits first: Why do you actually need carbohydrates in your diet daily. First of all, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles, and central nervous system. Fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion and helps you feel fuller. Getting insufficient amounts of carbs in your diet can lead to headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Benefits of eating healthy carbohydrates include:
- Fuels your brain for more clear thinking
- Helps reduce bloating as it decreases instances of constipation
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Aids in better sleep
- Decreases cancer risk
- Increases energy
- Aids in digestion
- Helps burn body fat
- Improves your mood
- Aids in preventing weight gain, and can potentially aid in weight loss
- Aids in trimming your waistline (when replacing processed foods with whole grains)
- Improve your memory
Sounds great, right?! Of course, these benefits come with the right choices in carbs rather than white, processed breads, cakes, muffins, donuts and ice cream. I know that doesn’t sound fun, but hold on! Good carbs can be really delicious, too! Don’t think about what you’re denying yourself – change that thinking to looking forward to healthy choices AND the results they’ll bring! Carbohydrates are broken down into two (2) main categories:
1. Starches/Complex Carbs
- Whole grains
- Beans – kidney, navy, black, pinto
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain pasta
- Nuts and seeds – pumpkin and sunflower seeds; almonds, cashews, and peanuts
**Non-starchy vegetables with lower grams of carbohydrates include: leafy greens, green beans, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
2. Sugars/Simple Carbs – be sure to include foods that contain NATURAL sugars rather than added sugars!
- Dairy products
Mix these examples of healthy carbohydrates into your diet daily, while minimizing your intake of sugars. Where our overall health and wellness is concerned, it is best to avoid all refined sugars, processed foods and drinks. I promise that taking in the recommended amount of healthy carbohydrates will insure you’re also getting fiber, and you will definitely feel and see the benefits!
In conclusion, our bodies need the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in order for all of our systems to function best. When we have deficiencies in these nutrients, our bodies will let us know – sometimes in unpleasant ways. Be proactive with your health! Clean, healthy nutrition is the answer. If you feel that you need help in breaking it all down for yourself, or in planning grocery lists and meal plans, please reach out to a personal trainer or nutritionist. I am more than happy to help you! You can contact me through the Contact Me link on this site, or email me at FitTeacherMom@aol.com.