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Good Carbs Vs Bad Carbs: What’s the Difference?

various healthy foods on a table with carbohydrates carbs

Everyone has heard of low-carb diets. “Cutting out carbs” is a phrase that gets a lot of buzz in the diet and fitness community, but what does that really mean? Do we understand what a carb is and how it interacts with our bodies? It’s important to know how a carb’s molecules interact with our digestive system before you start cutting them from your diet.

Understanding how our bodies digest and react to the foods we consume is essential to eating healthy and living well. Food is often viewed as the enemy to health and weight loss, but in truth, food can heal. It’s all about eating to support your body’s needs instead of eating on impulse. Carbs are actually a substance your body needs to operate properly. Let’s dig a little deeper into what a carb is.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates or carbs are an essential energy source and vital to helping you function properly. When we eat carbs, the body transforms them into glycogen or sugar. This sugar is an energy source for our body. Eliminating all carbs from your diet will leave you feeling tired and unwell. It’s like trying to drive a car with no gas.

The trick is picking the proper type of carb. The diet community divides carbs into two categories: good and bad. Instead, they should really be divided into simple and complex. Simple carbs have only one or two sugar molecules and absorb much faster into the body. This also means the body burns through the energy provided much sooner. Complex carbs have three or more sugar molecules, making the body work a little longer to absorb them. The energy produced by complex carbs lasts longer, helping maintain your energy and blood sugar levels.

Here’s the secret: both are ok to eat! Yes, it is recommended to eat more complex than simple carbs, but neither of them is bad. The problem is not the type of carb but the source of the carb. Naturally occurring carbs and sugars are found in whole, less processed foods, and are much more beneficial for the body. Food that has been processed or had sugar added to it is of much less nutritional value and is linked to increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

What are Low Carb Foods?

Highly processed foods like chips, crackers, and white bread are high in carbs but low in nutrients. To find a good balance, focus on food that hasn’t been transformed by processing. Eat corn from the cob instead of corn chips, eat the fruit instead of drinking juice, bake a potato instead of eating potato chips. Items to look for are beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, and seeds. These will provide long-term energy to keep you going throughout your day.

Cutting down on unhealthy carbs is helpful for losing weight and staying on top of your cholesterol levels. In a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, it’s recommended to consume between 225 and 325 grams of carbs. For those who want to limit their carb intake, it is recommended to have between 50 and 150 grams of carbs. This is easily done by swapping out sugary, processed foods with protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Z.E.N. Foods

Z.E.N. Foods strives to provide easy access to nutritious foods in Los Angeles and other Southern California areas. Just like any food plan, the meals are most effective when coupled with exercise, good sleep, and proper water intake. Taking care of your body is investing in your future self. Finding the right source of carbs is a great way to start. A food delivery plan gives you time to focus on other healthy habits without adding shopping and cooking to your schedule. To learn more or speak to a consultant, visit our website today.

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