Are carbohydrates really bad for you?*

Wednesday, 11 March 2015, By By Daniel Collins

There is a common misconception that carbohydrates 'make you fat'. They don't! I mean sure if they are eaten in unnecessarily large portion they could contribute to weight gain, but then again this can be said for almost any type of food - all good things in moderation. Carbohydrates are actually one of the most undervalued sources of energy which, when added correctly to your diet plan, can help you achieve your weight loss or body transformation goals.

Here are 5 reasons to bring back the carbs!

1. Carbs can help boost your mood 

Research suggests that carbs promote the production of Serotonin, a 'feel good' chemical that the brain utilises to function.

2. Carbs can help prevent weight gain and promote weight loss

 

A study found that women who increase their fibre intake generally lost weight. Women who decreased the fibre in their diets daily generally gained weight. Good carbs such as brown rice and oats contain dietary fibre which is actually an indigestible complex carbohydrate.

3. Carbs are good for your heart 

Increasing your soluble fibre intake (type of fibre found in carb rich foods like oats and beans) by 5-10grams daily could result in a 5% drop in 'bad' LDL cholesterol. Similarly, people who add whole grain foods into their diets (brown rice, quinoa etc.) also tend to have lower LDL cholesterol and higher 'good' HDL cholesterol.

4. Carbs will help you blast fat 

Eating brekkie with a slow release carbohydrate such as oats does not increase your blood sugar as high as eating refined carbs such as white toast, in turn insulin levels remain regulated and this is important as insulin plays a large part in signalling your body to store fat, having lower more regulated levels can help you burn fat.

5. Good vs Bad Carbs 

Carbs are your body's primary source of energy - or should be. Carbs should not be avoided, but it is important to understand that not all carbs are alike.

Simple Carbohydrates are those that are easily digested, with basic low sugars and provide little real value for your body. These are the ones that can easily turn into fat if not burnt off and the main ones to limit in your diet are: soda, candy, syrups, sugar, white bread, white pasta, pastries and desserts.

Complex Carbohydrates are considered 'good 'because of the time it takes for the body to break them down. They generally have lower glycaemic index, which means you will get lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent rate and longer sustained energy.

It's a matter of making some simple substitutions when it comes to your meals. Try brown rice instead of white rice, have whole wheat instead of plain pasta and throw some sweet potato into your lunch salad!

The bottom line is to be mindful and educated about the carbs you choose to consume. Give low nutrient desserts the flick and focus on healthy whole grains, low sugar fruits and veggies to get the energy your body needs every day.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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