Posted by runningawaywithme
Carbohydrates are a very controversial and sometimes touchy topic for some people. Most of us have been led to believe that carbs=bad, therefore, we should restrict our intake. I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong or that you are bad for believing in the hype, after all, it’s not your fault.
Carbohydrate- noun-any of a class of organic compounds that are polyhydroxy aldehydes or polyhydroxy ketones, or change to such substances on simple chemical transformations, as hydrolysis, oxidation, or reduction, and that form the supporting tissues of plants and are important food for animals and people. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carbohydrate)
Our bodies use carbs to make glucose, which provide the body with energy. Our bodies will do one of two things, utilize it immediately, or store it for later use. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, complex and simple.
A complex carbohydrate is best defined as, foods that are fibrous and starchy. Think potatoes and beans, or, breads and veggies. Fiber can be found in whole grain, fruits and vegetables.
Simple carbohydrates are best defined as anything that has sugar in it, naturally or added,( which also mean they are less nutrient dense foods).
There is nothing wrong with Simple Carbs in moderation. It’s all a balance now isn’t it? I tend to try and stick with the Complex Carbs not only because for me, I am getting more bang for my calorie buck (due to fiber content etc..) it seems to satiate me longer and give me the best amount of energy sources. Which leads me to another important tip, it’s very important for you to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet as well. Many, MANY people have NO idea how much fiber they take in and when they decide to track it, find out they are eating very little if ANY fiber at all. Girl! You need to regulate yourself somehow! Get on that fiber! Fiber also tends to fill you as well, so if you are eating something that is high in fiber, it will tend to satiate you longer.
Fiber rich foods: Oatmeal, bran, fruits (in the form of berries), dried beans, peas, whole wheat bread, brown, rice, most veggies, couscous, bulgar etc..
I, personally, usually take in between 25-40 grams of fiber a day. Yes, that much. Now, I am not saying that is how much you need to take in, but you do need to figure out the amount that is right for you. I would honestly say, no less than 18 grams and right around 25 would be prec’. I would also gamble to say if you are getting less than 18 grams per day, you may need to rethink your food choices, as I can not imagine they are the most nutrient dense choices out there.
Now back to carbs. For a period of time, I bought into the low carb craze and tried out Atkins, South Beach et al. Following those plans left me feeling depleted and yuck. Satiated? Yes, energetic? NO. The reason why most people do well with weight loss on low carb is because they are consuming more in the way of proteins and fats which are MORE filling and satiating. It’s simple science. So the reason why you saw weight loss was NOT because you gave up carbs or severely restricted them, it’s because you were getting full, which led to eating LESS, which led to a caloric DEFECIT (because we all know that at the end of the day, calories in vs calories out is what gives us a loss) due to the higher protein and fat intake. However, I know that many people will dismiss this or try to argue their way out of it, or STILL swear by the fact that carbs are bad and LESS is best. NO.
Most healthy adults should aim to get at least 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates. So if you are taking in say 2000 calories a day, you should be aiming to eat roughly 900-1300 calories from carbs (which will vary depending on your sex, your height/weight and most importantly your activity level) Remember that carbs are 4 calories PER gram. This is where I tell you that you must make sure you are eating a well balanced diet when taking all things into consideration. Athletes tend to aim for a higher carbohydrate count for sustainability and energy.
Carbs are NOT the enemy and carbs ARE NOT bad for you. I will not preach about the good carbs vs the bad carbs, because I truly believe food labeling is something I strive hard to not do. Foods, ANY foods, which are used smartly and for the right reason are fine. Yes, even WHITE BREAD and chocolate. At the end of the day, you have to live with ALL your choices and the end result is something only YOU can decide what it will be. I can give the tools to help you, but you steer your own ship.
Next time I will talk about fats, calories and how all of these tie together (protein, carbs, fats, fiber), when trying to figure out how much and what you should be taking in on a daily basis.