One of the most hated nutrients in popular culture when it comes to dieting are carbohydrates or carbs. Ironically, they are our main source of energy! They account for 40-60% of the total calories we should eat daily. Would you like to know all the reasons why it is essential to eat carbohydrates? Listen up!
What do carbohydrates do?
Once eaten, carbs (also called “sugars”) are dissolved in glucose and provide a host of benefits to our bodies:
- Source of energy: carbohydrates are the fuel our body needs to carry out all of its basic functions. Especially, they are vital for our brain, because they are its only source of energy, and as you can imagine, it needs a lot of energy!
- Saving of proteins: eating carbs makes our body save the energy of proteins to use it in other processes.
- They stop ketone bodies from forming: ketones are a type of fat waste. They form when the body uses fat to obtain energy (instead of using sugar). If we use the sugar in carbohydrates we will avoid ketones from appearing and we will avoid pathologies like arrhythmias or osteoporosis.
- Tissue creation: it helps with the creation of both connective and nervous tissue.
- Regulatory functions: carbohydrates balance our intestinal transit, reduce constipation and produce a feeling of fullness.
Don’t eliminate carbs from your diet!
For all these reasons, it is not recommended to follow strict diets that avoid foods rich in carbohydrates because they can cause severe health issues. People who wish to lose weight should not make the mistake of completely banishing this nutrient from their diets, but adjust its portions to their specific needs.
Simple and complex carbohydrates
But beware, not all carbohydrates are the same! It is essential that you know the difference between the two types of carbs out there because they are extremely different.
Simple carbs:these are quickly digested and cause insulin peaks. They are known as “bad carbohydrates” (white sugar, soft drinks, processed baked goods…) People need to control the amount of these carbs they ingest and limit their consumption as much as possible.
Complex carbs: these are digested slowly. They have a high nutritional value and have a higher concentration of vitamins and fibre. They give long-lasting energy and do not cause insulin peaks. Vegetables, rice, bread, pasta or legumes are some good examples of complex carbs. They are commonly known as “good carbs”.
Where can you find good carbs?
We could group the main sources of carbohydrates into four groups:
Cereals: rice, wheat, oatmeal, barley, corn, rye, pasta.
Tubers: potato, sweet potato, yuca.
Sugars: beetroot, sugar cane, honey.
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, green beans, kidney beans, peas, soy.
Carbohydrates or carbsare essential for our nutrition: They are our fuel! If you would like to know more, we talk in depth about the differences between simple and complex carbs in this article on our blog.