In today’s world, carbohydrates, one of the most important macronutrients for your body, have somehow become the enemy. Everywhere you look see foods that are labeled “low carb” and diets that limit your carb intake, like Atkins and the Ketogenic Diet, have become all the rage. But here at Vitality Fitness Delivered, we have some news for you: carbs are friends, not foes! Carbohydrates aren’t just necessary for your daily life, they are actually necessary for weight loss as well.
Now, let’s first talk about what carbohydrates are before we sing their praises. Carbohydrates are the starches, sugars, and fibers found in most foods under the sun, including grains, vegetables, fruits, some proteins, and dairy products. Beyond that, carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients, (the other two being protein and fat), that give your body energy. This energy, also known as calories, helps your body do all it needs to do to function properly.
Now, why has the poor carbohydrate gotten such a bad rap? Well, a particular form of carbohydrates, known as simple carbs, are commonly found in weight loss no-nos, such as candy, soda, and sugary things. Food items like white bread, Reeses Pieces, and Coca Cola are processed, full of additives, and contain no weight loss wins, such as fiber or vitamins. Yes, these food items aren’t great for you, yes, frequent intake of them will lead to weight gain, and yes, simple carbs are the backbone of these foods. Simple carbs often pass through the body very quickly and cause a spike in your blood sugar, or what’s commonly known as a “sugar high.” So yes, simple carbs are not the greatest thing to have in your diet.
However, the other form of carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, are the weight loss win to end all weight loss wins. Complex carbs are found in some of the best foods that can fuel your body, including beans, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. Complex carbs provide your body with long-lasting energy, tons of vitamins and minerals, and a feeling of fullness that can curb your appetite. Excluding complex carbs from your diet simply because they are “carbs” would be a complete disservice to not just your weight loss goals, but your body in general.
Also, just as a rule of thumb, you should never completely cut out and entire macronutrient from your lifestyle. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the building blocks of any healthy diet and they all need each other to function properly within your body. And since carbohydrates are the macronutrient most responsible for energy in the body, they are not just essential for a healthy diet, but they should be a major part of your diet. Imagine your body as a car and carbohydrates as the gas. Can a car run properly on very little gas? Absolutely not. So why would you devoid your body of the energy it needs?
In short, welcome carbohydrates into your diet but make sure they are the right ones. Choose peas over Hershey bars, whole wheat bread over weight bread, and a smoothie over a Coke. And please, for the love of god, repeat after me: CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY!