What are Carbohydrates?
I can’t start to explain to you why carbs (carbohydrates) are beneficial before you know what they are. I bet the first thing you picture when I say carbs is the warm, delicious, bread-basket that is devoured in .3 seconds flat at a restaurant, and you’re not wrong. There are three macronutrients your body needs in order to continue functioning: fat, protein, and carbs. To provide prospective fats provide 9 calories per gram while protein and carbs provide 4 calories per gram. Carbohydrates are one of the main sources you should be getting your calories from in your daily intake. There are three main types of carbs you will encounter in your daily life: starch, sugar, and fiber. Each are carbs yet each provides their own benefits. Incorporating a variety of carbs, preferably whole-grain ones, are a part of a well-balanced diet.
Many fad diets will boast that weight-loss can only happen if you ban carbs. This is in fact, false. Without this source of energy, you would actually create many more health issues for yourself. Carbs are actually beneficial forms of nourishment.
Where Can You Find Carbohydrates?
Unless you have done your research, you would be surprised at what foods are actually considered carbs. Most fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and sweets all fall under the carbohydrate category. Although each has a different ratio of macros, the main contender in each is carbohydrate. For example, a banana and chips are both considered carbs, but they have different aspects that should be considered. A serving of the banana is about 1 small one at about 60 calories, full of potassium and fiber, with 15 grams of carbs. A serving of chips is 1 oz which is about 150 calories and a good portion of sodium with about 15 grams of carbs. By selecting a banana you are gaining more fiber but at the same time you may select chips because you are craving them, each coming in with equivalent amounts of carbs. Overall, each carbohydrate source has different pros and cons so when selecting a carb look for ones that are rich in fiber, full of whole grains, and limits sugar.
What Can Carbohydrates Do for You?
Carbohydrates are the energy that fuel you! They are your body’s first choice to use as energy. You’ve probably heard your doctor talk about blood glucose levels before. This is when the carbs are broken down into simple sugar and enter the bloodstream (AKA blood sugar). When it is in the bloodstream it is able to travel around the body and provide energy.
As if fueling every movement wasn’t enough carbs also help protect you from disease, help control your weight, and preserve your muscles. Whole-grain and fiber filled carbs assist in protecting you against cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes (1). Whole grains help control your weight by taking longer for your body to bread down while fiber keeps you full on fewer amounts of calories. Carbs even take action in preserving your muscles by sparing your protein. This means that protein can be used to build muscle instead of having to be broken down in order to maintain normal bodily functions.