So you’re getting a jump start on those New Year’s Resolutions. It’s time to lose weight and get in shape once and for all! But when it comes to eating right, there’s so much conflicting information out there it’s hard to know what to do! Are ‘carbs’ good? Are they bad? Are they what’s making me fat?! The Fitness Monster is here to give you the lowdown!
Carbohydrates, or ‘carbs’, are one of the three major groups of nutrients that provide calories; the other two are protein and fat. Every food that comes from a plant is a carbohydrate. They are the primary fuel source for many of the body’s vital organs, including the brain, central nervous system, and the kidneys. The body also uses carbs (as opposed to protein or fat) most efficiently for energy.
It is misleading that excess carbohydrate consumption causes weight gain; excess calorie intake is what causes weight gain. However, the type of carbs we focus on in our diet is very important. There’s a BIG difference between the natural, wholesome, ‘good’ carbs we are designed to eat and the unnatural, highly-processed, ‘refined’ carbs so many of us consume on a daily basis. These ‘bad’ carbs are contributing to a health crisis in America and other parts of the world in the forms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
So carbs are needed in our diets; we just want to make sure you’re focusing on the right ones. A good guideline is to stick to the perimeter of the gocery store – this is where all the fresh, non-perishable items are located. If something stays good on a shelf for a year and a half without refrigeration and you can’t recognise 75 percent of the ingredients, can it really be very good for you?
More specifically, here are some examples of carbs to limit consumption of:
And some examples of carbs to emphasize:
The less refined, the better. You don’t have to completely eliminate these ‘bad’ carbs; just think of them as the ‘condiments’ in your diet – maybe one or two servings a day. The real test: try replacing the low quality, refined carbohydrate souces in your diet with some of these higher quality ones, and see the effects for yourself!