Trying to lose weight? The chances are you’ve been told to avoid carbs. It’s a valid assumption, there are plenty of popular carb free diets out there, Atkins and paleo being the two popular ones.
Confused? We don’t blame you! There is a lot of legitimate information out there, but there is also a lot of pseudo-science, making it hard to translate any of it into daily, healthy practices. Plus, it’s all too easy to blame weight gain on carbohydrates, but before you do this it’s worth having a look at all the foods you are eating, as well as the types of carbohydrates you are consuming.
Yes, eating lots of white bread, crisps and chips will make you gain weight, but healthy portions of wholegrains and vegetables higher in carbs is perfectly healthy – it’s recommended and can even aid weight loss!
Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, carbohydrates are part of an overall healthy diet. Not all carbohydrates are created equal, so it’s important to learn which (and how much) you should be eating.
The different types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a major macro-nutrient and one of your body’s primary sources of energy but not all carbs are created equal. Instead of cutting out carbs completely, you should be looking for healthy, nutritional carbs to implement into your diet.
Simple carbs have a bad reputation because foods with refined sugar typically fall into this category. Think: cakes, fizzy drinks, chips, and syrup. Simple carbohydrates also have a high glycemic index and can raise blood sugar levels.
These are the kinds of carbs you need to stay away from, especially when dieting. However, not all of them are necessarily bad for you. Healthy examples of unrefined simple carbs include dairy and fruit.
These are absorbed and digested by the body slowly and have a lower glycemic index than simple carbs. Complex carbs tend not to raise blood sugar levels the way simple carbs do.
Complex carbs include grains such as bulgur, quinoa, and some pastas and starchy vegetables such as acorn squash, corn, and pumpkin.
Healthy carbs keep you fuller for longer, that’s a fact.
Non starchy vegetable, fruits, beans and wholegrains such as quinoa, oats or wild rice are great examples of healthy carbs. 100 per cent wholegrain carbs are rich in fibre, helping you to feel fuller for longer. Why? Because they absorb slowly into your system and keep your blood sugar level balanced.
Complex Carbohydrates Explained…
The two types of complex carbs are fibre and starch. Fibre is particularly important as it promotes bowel regularity and helps to keep cholesterol levels at bay.
The main sources of dietary fibre include;
Starch can be found in some of the same foods as fibre. The difference is that certain foods are considered more starchy than fibrous (yes that’s right – potatoes).
Other high starch foods include;
- Whole wheat bread
Complex Carbohydrates that are good for you…
Forget everything you have heard about dieting, because complex carbohydrates are essential to long-term health. They help you to maintain weight (and lose weight) and can even help guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Grains are a fantastic source of fibre, they are also great for potassium, magnesium and selenium. Quinoa, Buckwheat and whole-wheat pasta are good choices.
Vegetable Rich in Fibre
Broccoli, leafy greens and carrots are full of fibre.
Fruit Rich in Fibre
Apples, berries and bananas are our top picks!
Explore your beans – there are a lot of them out there!
So there you have it, Carbohydrates are not the devil and with a bit of research and a keen eye for nutrition labels, you can start making healthier choice!
Looking for a healthy nutrition plan that works for you? Contact us today for more information on 01772 687 539.