Constructive Carbohydrates: Healthy Diet Tips

 

A look at the many benefits of including carbohydrates in a balanced diet.

Carbohydrates have been getting a bad rap, particularly since the advent of the carb-unfriendly, protein-heavy Atkins diet and other similar fads. The prevalence of these dogmas, many fear the dreaded carb but the human body needs a balance of all nutrients, including carbohydrates, to be truly healthy.

If you do choose a low-carb diet to try and lose weight, this will work early on but after a few months it works no better than any other diet for weight loss. You rapidly lose water weight as your body starts to break down stored carbohydrates, but on a continued basis, this is not an adequate nutritional balance. Weight will creep back as the carb stores replenish. This will only lead to a sort of weight equivalent of the economic ‘bust boom’ cycle. These fluctuations can lead you into the trap of yo-yo dieting and can be extremely frustrating if you’re trying to keep off the pounds.

Finding the Right Carbs

The best way to lose weight whilst maintaining your carb intake is simply to be selective. Afterall, not all carbs are created equal. By eating the right carbs you can avoid the problems people commonly associate with the food group.

Vegetables and fresh fruits, for example are a healthy carb option, adding variety and colour to meals as well as nutritional value. Whole grains including brown rice and whole wheat are an added source of healthy carbohydrates and choosing carbohydrate foods which are fibre-rich, whilst avoiding added sugars is the healthiest path to nutritionally balanced weight loss.

A good vegetable lasagne with wholemeal pasta sheets is a great example of a healthy, carb-loaded meal that you could easily prepare, but there are other options you can look at including this selection of Indian recipes which utilise rice as one of their base ingredients.

Carbohydrate Lovers

One group of people that positively adore carbs in the right form are athletes. For athletes and active individuals, carbohydrates provide vital fuel. Carbs supply the body with its main energy supply and are fundamental for speed, stamina, concentration, recovery and a good fluid balance.  Adequately fuelling your body with all the nutrition it needs, including carbs, is most certainly essential to achieving your fitness goals.

The Importance of Carbohydrates

Carbs are also important for your mental functions. Carbohydrates stored in the body are known as glycogen. Liver glycogen stores are necessary for “brain food”. (When you’re body is lacking glucose to use as energy it starts to break down stored fats. These causes ketosis which, among other things, causes mental fatigue). In addition, glycogen stores are vital to maintaining a normal blood sugar level. Liver glycogen is converted to glucose in the liver and released it into the bloodstream, preventing hypoglycaemia, a state normally associated with diabetes, which can be brought about by a lack of carbs, even in healthy people. Blood sugar levels are also known to be an important factor in mental health issues, particularly anxiety.

As well as all of the above, carbs serve many other purposes from enabling communications between body cells, to regulating digestion and supporting immune functions.  As you can see carbs are an important part of a healthy diet and, despite what some diets might claim, are not to be cut out. Stay carb-friendly, reap the health rewards, and enjoy eating a range of tasty foods!

 

 

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