Guest post by Emily Hunter
Carbs make the natural nutritional scapegoat.
Put on a few extra pounds, blame the carbs that you had for lunch or dinner the day before.
A little less 6-pack than one expected?
Truth is, though, carbohydrates are not the bad guy.
“The right types of carbs can help you
lose weight and provide you with
a wealth of benefits.”
The right types of carbs can help you lose weight and provide you with a wealth of benefits.
They just need to be eaten in moderation, using a bit of willpower.
Anything eaten with abandon can cause difficulties down the line.
Whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy (or non-dairy substitutes) and fruits and vegetables rich
in fiber should all be a part of any diet, whether or not weight loss is the goal.
#1. Carbs Provide Energy
The carbs you eat provide the energy you need to function on a day to day level.
Everything you do, all day long, requires energy and that energy comes from your body
Glucose comes from the starches and sugars you eat, generally in the form of carbs.
When you digest these starches and sugars, they are converted and used to help your body
do everything from breathe to exercise.
#2. Carbs Can Help You Feel Better
A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests carbohydrates induce the creation
of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that stimulates good feelings.
According to the study, people who were held to a strictly low-carbohydrate diet for a year
were more likely to be depressed, to be angry or frustrated, or to suffer anxiety.
Those who followed a low-fat, high-carb diet featuring whole grains, beans, fruit, and low-fat
dairy were generally happier.
The occasional nutritious protein bar could also really be a boost to your general feeling of
#3. Carbs Can Help You Not Gain Weight
Researchers from Brigham Young University conducted a two year study in which they
examined the eating habits of middle-aged women.
They discovered more fiber equaled more weight loss, whereas those who consumed less
fiber gained weight.
Carbohydrates often contain fiber, which itself is a complex carbohydrate, but one that
cannot be digested.
#4. Carbs Can Help Your Heart
“Bad” LDL cholesterol is often cited as being terrible for your heart.
Soluble fiber, found in carbohydrate-heavy foods like beans, will reduce the level of LDL
cholesterol in your blood.
Whole grains have the same effect and will even raise the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
According to this article, switching to a low carbohydrate diet can have a number of deleterious
side-effects, including rising LDL cholesterol, especially when the new diet includes a great deal
of saturated fats.
#5. Carbs Can Sharpen Your Memory
A Tufts University study assessed a number of overweight women after telling them to go
a week without consuming any carbs at all.
Upon testing, it was found these women did poorly on memory tests than women who simply
followed a low-calorie diet, using the standard American Dietetic Association guidelines.
Of course, like anything else, it’s a poor idea to eat too many carbohydrates.
Everyone needs fats and proteins in moderation as well.
But carbohydrates have so many benefits, it’s a bad idea to leave them out entirely.
Healthy eating requires a little bit of everything, even dreaded carbohydrates.
A suggestion on something to help take away hunger cravings and provide both carbs and
protein might be a high-quality protein bar.
It tastes like treating yourself (but you’re really not cheating at all).
About the author:
Emily Hunter is a SEM Strategist and Outreach Supervisor at the Marketing Zen Group working with the folks at Promax Nutrition. She loves designing strategies with her team and is excited about spreading the Zen gospel. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, crafts her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen
Are you including a variety of good quality carbs in your diet?
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