Carbs have always been my biggest weakness! I'm addicted to pasta and eat white rice almost everyday, but is it really good for me? Dal, The Asian Beauty Blog's Health and Fitness contributor, uncovers the myth...
One of the most common questions I get asked is: “Are carbs bad for you? Can they make you fat?” Carbohydrates have had a bad rap over the past couple of decades, associated with making you fat, bloated and sluggish. With so much conflicting information the answer is not as simple as we would expect it to be. So, are carbs really the enemy? Before we answer this question we need to first look at what they are...
What are Carbs?
Carbs are the body’s primary energy source so we need to eat them. They’re grouped into two categories: complex carbohydrates (good carbs) and simple carbohydrates (bad carbs).
Bad carbs are simple carbohydrates that are broken down by the body too quickly to provide an adequate source of nutrients, vitamins or energy. You’ll find bad carbs in foods that are composed of refined or processed flour and often include added sugars, for examples: soft drinks, most cakes, cookies or chips, white bread, white rice, table sugar, fructose and alcohol. Eating a diet that is full of bad carbs will lead to weight gain, an increase in the risk of diabetes and an increased chance of heart disease.
Complex carbohydrates take the body longer to break down and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. They’re also typically high in fibre. Good carbs include fresh fruit and veg, wholegrain cereals, whole wheat breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and black beans. All of these foods provide the body with energy, vitamins, fibre, minerals and phytonutrients.
Don’t be a Carbo-phobe!
If you’ve been following a low-carb diet (such as the Atkins diet) then you run the risk of having your body enter ketosis. Ketosis is a medical condition that occurs when fats are not completely broken down. This can often occur on very low-carbohydrate diets because it is much more difficult for the body to break down fats or protein for energy sources compared to carbohydrates. Stick to foods that contain fibre, have a low glycemic index, keep blood sugar levels stable, are essential for good bowel health and reduce total cholesterol levels. Your body needs carbs for energy!
Carbs aren’t all bad for you. It’s all about balance and ensuring that your diet is made up of healthy, ‘good’ carbs, rather than highly manufactured and processed ones.
Yours in health and fitness,