Are Carbs Bad for You?
Comfort food is undeniably delicious. And just like all things in life, moderation is key. This also begs the question – are carbs bad for you? The answer is rather nuanced, and it always depends on the source of carbs you’re choosing. It also depends on your unique health goals.
We’ve all been told to watch how much bread, pasta, beans, potatoes, and cookies we eat. However, with a balanced diet, you can enjoy carbs along with other healthy food. Just like with all food, our bodies need the right kinds to function optimally. In fact, carbs are one of the three macronutrients (the other two being protein and fats) our bodies need to operate well.
Keep reading to learn which carbs are better for your health.
What Are Good Carbs, Exactly?
Carbohydrates comprise fibers, starches, and sugars that turn into glucose or blood sugar. They give your body the energy it needs to function. It’s important to note the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates to understand why some foods are considered “good” and others “bad.”
The chemical composition of a food item and how quickly your body breaks it down determines if it is a complex or simple carbohydrate. In other words, complex carbs contain vitamins, fiber, and minerals that your body needs. As opposed to simple carbs, complex carbs take the body longer to break down. The result is a fuller tummy over a longer period of time.
Good carbs, or rather, complex carbohydrates, include fibers and starches. Starches provide many vitamins and minerals and take the body longer to break down and digest. Fibers, on the other hand, are not broken down by the body. Instead, they stimulate and aid digestion by passing it down through the intestines. Both regulate blood sugar and keep you remaining full for longer.
Healthy Complex Carbs Foods
Whole grains to enjoy healthily include:
- Brown rice
Other foods are classified as pulses and are a part of the legume family. Pulses are high in plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They include:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini beans
- Pinto beans
While all vegetables contain carbohydrates, among the best ones to consume for a high fiber and high starch content include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Acorn squash
- Delicata squash
- Butternut squash
Fruits are also high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, they are some of the tastiest complex carbs you can consume. Some fruits we recommend incorporating into your daily diet include:
What Are Bad Carbs?
As we learned, carbohydrates are composed of fibers, starches, and sugars. Within these three essential food nutrients, sugars are considered simple or basic carbs. As contrasted with complex carbs, simple carbs are broken down quickly. But, are simple carbs considered bad carbs?
Typically, simple carbs are found in sugar. When you consume simple carbs, your blood sugar levels rise and drop suddenly. Then, you feel an influx of energy similar to that of a sugar rush. This high is soon followed by a crash or decline in energy.
Two kinds of sugars are classified as simple carbs; naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. We recommend limiting the amount of added sugars to prevent imbalances in blood sugar levels.
Simple Carb Foods To Limit:
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Breakfast Cereal
- Packaged Cookies
- Baked Treats
Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs: The Breakdown
The key to eating a balanced diet is consuming whole and balanced foods. Avoid processed foods as much as possible, and choose foods with simple, easy-to-digest ingredients.
To summarize, carbs aren’t so much the issue. Rather, their source determines the quality of nutrients they provide our bodies. So, when eating simple carbs, opt for non-refined or processed foods from wholesome sources like natural fruits. Z.E.N. Foods is committed to helping you find the right source of carbs. We can also assist you in pairing carbs with the right foods. Keep in mind, a healthy life involves a nutritious diet, mindset, and lifestyle. We consider ourselves pioneers in healthy living during modern times. To begin, advance, or deepen your health journey, explore our website or call (310) 205-9368 to speak with a consultant.