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Carbohydrates: Why They Deserve a Spot On Your Plate




Carbohydrates haven’t always had the best reputation when it comes to certain diets over the last several decades. Many people fear that carbs cause weight gain and try to eliminate or restrict their carbohydrate intake. However, not all carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact, carbs are a very essential part of a healthy diet, and your body needs them to operate well. Carbs supply the body with glucose which gives us energy, helps bodily functions run smoothly, and supports physical activity (“Carbohydrates”, 2019).


Carbohydrates are found in many types of foods, but the quality of the carb is the most important aspect. High-quality healthy complex carbohydrates are found in unprocessed whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and beans (“Carbohydrates”, 2019). Some examples of these types of healthy carbs are quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, oatmeal, lentils, chickpeas, sweet potato, pumpkin, bananas, apples, broccoli, and carrots, and this is just to name a few. These beneficial foods have ample amounts of fiber and nutrients which protect you from disease and have been shown in studies to aid in weight control (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020).


The unhealthier types of refined carbohydrates, like highly processed foods such as white bread, sugary drinks, white rice, pastries, candy, cookies, and white pasta, are the types of carbs to avoid or limit in your diet. These foods can cause weight gain and are linked to diabetes and heart disease because of their high calorie count and low nutritional value. These types of foods tend to cause a spike in blood sugar which then leads to a crash, in turn causing a craving for more empty calorie carbs, creating a toxic cycle.


Incorporating complex carbohydrates into your daily diet avoids this negative cycle and will nourish your body with beneficial nutrients as well as generous amounts of fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 45% - 65% of your daily calories comes from carbohydrates, which is half of your day’s worth of food (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020). Don’t be afraid of including carbohydrates in your diet, just look for fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, and legumes, and you will nurture your body with nutrient dense healthy food.



References:


Carbohydrates. (2019, May 22). Retrieved August 2, 2020, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/


London, J. (2019, March 21). The Healthiest Carbs to Add to Your Grocery List. Retrieved August 2, 2020, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/g26860631/healthy-carbs/#:~:text=While all carbs break down,quinoa, wheat, and oats.


Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, April 17). Choose your carbs wisely. Retrieved August 2, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705



ANNA PIPPIN, MSHN

Anna is the owner of Holistic Nutrition Coach, LLC., and believes one can heal from eating whole, nutritious foods. It is her passion to help others on their own path to nutritional wellness. Contact her today to set up a free 15-minute consult, anna@holisticnutritioncoach.org.