Are you afraid of carbs? I have noticed that many of my clients are terrified of them! I'm not kidding. The myth of “evil carbs" is still alive and it's frustrating! Carbs are a key macronutrient that is essential in a healthy diet. I wish my clients didn't have to live in fear of delicious carb-containing foods. Here are 10 reasons why carbs are your friends!
1. Carbs are delicious!
Obviously! But there is more to it. We crave carbs because our bodies need them for energy! There is a reason why we crave carbs when we are hungry: it’s because our body is telling us it wants easily accessible fuel. Complex carbs are a great source of fuel for our body. But when we restrict ourselves of this fuel, we start craving more processed foods! Easiest way to prevent sugar cravings - get in those good carbs!
2. Carbs help control blood sugar!
Talking about sugar, whole grains actually help control blood sugar! Eating whole grains reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. They are rich in fiber which helps energy to be released into the bloodstream slowly throughout the day. This is exactly what we need for sustained energy levels and steady blood sugar.
3. Carbs make your belly happy
Because they are rich in fiber, they will get things going. One study showed that people who eat more whole grains have better digestive health and because of that they are less likely to be overweight!
4. Carbs do not make you fat!
As easy as it would be, there actually isn't a single nutrient to blame for weight gain. Carbs are part of a healthy diet and, as mentioned before, an essential source of energy! Overeating, a poor diet and lack of exercise might make you gain a few pounds. But don’t blame it on the carbs! Studies show that consumption of whole grains is associated with LOWER overall weight.
5. Not all carbs are the same
People often put all carbs in one pot - they think that white bread and a bowl of brown rice are both 'bad'. Do you see how this is ridiculous? A slice of white bread has close to zero nutritional value and won’t make you feel satisfied for very long (though it still won't make you gain 10 pounds overnight). A bowl of brown rice is rich in fiber, magnesium, selenium, niacin and vitamin B6.
6. Carbs are everywhere
Talking about comparisons, there are plenty of healthy foods that are full of carbs! Foods rich in carbs include vegetables, fruits, dairy (lactose=sugar), legumes and pulses. Almost all of these are important in a balanced diet.
7. Eating carbs can lower your risk of heart disease!
There is evidence that higher whole grain intake lowers LDL cholesterol, which you should strive to keep low if you want to keep your heart healthy!
8. Eating more carbs will help you stay active
Evidence suggests that caloric restriction results in lower physical activity levels. This means that by restricting your best source of energy (complex carbs!), you might be feeling tired and fatigued. How are you going to go for a run if you struggle to get out of bed?
9. Carbs make life better
Because you will be happier. But also because they can actually make your life span longer! Because of all the health benefits of whole-grain intake, people who consume plenty of healthy carbs tend to live longer, healthier lives. That’s because their risk for obesity and many chronic diseases is lower. Plus you have the energy to be active, and you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
10. Restriction is not healthy
Most of my clients who avoid carbs do so because they think it will make them healthier (or thinner). A healthy diet is about eating all foods, enjoying your favorite dishes and feeling comfortable. Any food can be part of a healthy diet. Feelings of guilt are what will make you unhealthy!