In recent years, carbohydrates have received a tainted name among dieters. Breads, pastas, and starchy vegetables get credited with weight gain and fatigue. Many people looking to lose weight follow fad diets that encourage total avoidance of carbs, opting instead for plenty of meats and salads. Has the long-standing food pyramid been turned on its head? Not quite. While it is true that certain types of carbohydrates are not the ideal food staples, carbs still deserve their place in your kitchen and on your dinner plate.
Good and Bad Carbohydrates
Just like there are good and bad types of fat for your diet, not all carbohydrates interact with your body the same. White bread, pastries, sugary drinks, potato chips, and white rice do not provide much nutritional value, and a diet based on these foods will typically result in some extra pounds and a fatigued body. On the other hand, good carbs such as whole-grain breads, brown rice, vegetables, and fruits are used as healthy fuel for your body.
The Purposes of Carbohydrates
Good carbohydrates serve several purposes for your overall health. Primarily, your body needs carbs for energy, according to the New York Times Health Guide. Carbs also improve the health of your brain and nervous system. Whole grains contain fiber, along with many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Harvard School for Public Health recommends that adults receive around 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. The majority of American adults only get up to 15 grams a day, which can eventually lead to constipation, diabetes, heart disease, or colon cancer. Low-carb diets may shed pounds quickly, but the long-term health concerns can cause severe damage.
It is important to speak with a doctor before making any changes to your diet. If you have questions about carbohydrates in your diet, or if you would like a physician referral, call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-866-442-2362.