With the huge following of the Keto and similar diets, there’s an enormous surge in people cutting out carbs and increasing their intake of foods high in fat and protein. Cutting our carbohydrates completely may be a very bad idea. However, the suggestion of limiting certain carbs, is a good idea – I’m talking about simple carbohydrates.
Let’s start with the basics:
Why Do You Need Carbohydrates?
The purpose of carbs is to provide energy for the body. Depriving your body of carbs may leave you constantly feeling tired and fatigued. If you eat nothing but simple carbohydrates (sugar), you’ll likely crash. Complex carbohydrates release more slowly into your bloodstream so you will never feel a crash.
While you might lose some weight without carbs, your metabolism may actually slow down the longer you participate in a no/low carb diet. Once you’ve damaged your metabolism, it can be very difficult to repair. This means you may suffer from weight gain and difficulty losing weight for the rest of your life. If you’re wondering if you’ve already damaged your metabolism, Everlywell offers a simple test that can test for factors in unexpected weight loss or weight gain.
You may not know that there’s fiber in carbohydrates. Well, there is! Fiber is imperative for healthy digestion and will help keep you feeling fuller longer. If you avoid carbohydrates, you may suffer from constipation and a constant feeling of hunger. You may also open yourself up to more serious complications and diseases as a result of slowed digestion.
Certain types of carbohydrates contain tryptophan which can make you feel sleepy. Eating certain complex carbs before bed can help you sleep more soundly through the night and fall asleep faster. Some carbs, like oatmeal, can help produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
The fiber in complex carbohydrates can make you feel fuller for a long period of time. Choosing meals that are higher in fiber (at least 10-15 grams) will allow you to avoid feeling hungry right away, which means you won’t be tempted to grab those quick, unhealthy snacks.
Your body needs carbohydrates for optimal brain function. Without carbohydrates, you may not feel like yourself and begin to feel sad, depressed, light-headed, and foggy. You may also have a hard time concentrating and you may not be able to retain information as easily.
Nervous System Function
Complex Carbohydrates can reduce the feelings of anxiety and nervousness because they provide a grounding effect for your body. They help your body create enzymatic reactions to bring balance in a number of ways.
What are Simple Carbohydrates?
Foods that contain refined sugars and very few essential vitamins and minerals like the following:
- Table Sugar
- Fruit Juice
- Maple Syrup
- Brown Sugar
What are Complex Carbohydrates?
Foods that are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals such as:
- Whole Grain Breads
- Brown rice
- Wheat pasta
- Certain Fruits
Here are The Types of Carbohydrates to Limit or Avoid:
- Dairy products
- Soda/Soft Drinks
- Fancy sweetened coffee drinks
- Energy Drinks
- Pastries/Cakes/Cookies (Made with white flour)
- Ice Cream
- Enriched breads (Made with white flour)
- Table Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Most Cereals
Here are The Types of Carbohydrates You Should Eat:
- Vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, okra, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, dill pickles, radishes, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, onions)
- Whole Grain Breads
- Oatmeal and Oat Bran Cereal
- Legumes (black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils, etc.)
- Brown Rice
- Wheat Pasta
- Certain Fruits (Grapefruits, Apples, Prunes, Apricots, Pears, Plums, Strawberries, and Oranges)
To Wrap It Up
The important thing to remember is to not deprive yourself completely of simple carbohydrates if they are something you enjoy. Simply limit yourself to less. Consider limiting yourself to only one sweet beverage and one treat (or white bread) a day. If you allow yourself to splurge a little, you’ll be more likely to stick with your healthy diet change for life.
I hope this has cleared up any questions you had about carbohydrates, but if you still need clarification, please feel free to comment. If you need help deciding on a new diet plan, take a look at my article on the best diet options here.
Other Sources Of Information:
Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise plan or changes to your lifestyle. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.