When it comes to fitness and weight loss, carbs are often villainized or loved. It seems as if people can never find a middle ground and accept that every nutritional group is important. What matters is how you consume it and how much. Carbohydrates are undeniably important. We eat them every day, so in order to stay fit and stay healthy we have to be careful and know the difference between good and bad carbohydrates. A rational and balanced approach is important when planning meals.
If you look at the big picture, there are two types of carbs, the complex carbs on the one side, and simple carbs on the other. The truth is that carbohydrates are everywhere around us, so it’s best to learn how to recognize the good from the bad ones, and try to stay healthy by making better choices.
What Are Carbs?
Carbohydrates are essentially sugars that our body converts to glucose or blood sugar, which is stored for energy. If they have high glycemic levels, then they tend to raise your blood sugar levels, and make you feel tired and hungry faster.
Bad Carb Food
When we say bad carbs, we refer to the simple carbs. But why are they that bad for our health? Well, here’s the thing. Simple carbohydrates are small molecules of sugar that are digested and absorbed really rapidly. The energy is stored as glycogen, and if not used immediately (by working out), they convert to fat.
Why Are The Bad Carb Foods That Bad?
First of all, if they are not used immediately they turn into fat. They are low in nutrients and fibers, because they are stripped of their nutrients in order to get more “consumer friendly”. They are mostly processed carbohydrates that contain empty calories that are converted to fat, having high glycemic levels and elevating blood glucose levels.
Examples of Bad Carbohydrates
That may sound like a lot of the foods you love, but as you’ll learn there are plenty of healthy alternatives that taste just as good, or at least nearly as good.
Good carbs are also known as complex carbohydrates. Their chemical structure, fibers and nutrient levels, require our bodies to work harder in order to digest them, and the energy is released over a longer period of time.
Why Are They Good Carb Foods?
Good carbs are mostly in their natural state, or very close to it. This also means that they are high in fibers and nutrients and they help you feel full with fewer calories. Also, they have low glycemic index levels, and they naturally stimulate metabolism.
Examples of Good Carbohydrates
- Vegetables (all kinds)
- Fresh fruit
- Oats and oatmeal
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Breads
- Whole Grain Cereals
- Whole grain pastas
As a simple rule, look for carbohydrate rich foods that have gone through minimal processing. The fresher and more natural a carb-rich food the healthier it is likely to be. Likewise, highly processed foods that are high in carbs are likely to be extremely bad for your health. If you are on a weight loss diet or are simply looking to eat healthy, make it a point to follow a balanced diet that includes every food group. Just make sure that each group is represented by the healthiest possible choices.