Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or just someone who wants to be healthy and lose a little weight, you’ve likely heard that carbohydrates will be the death of us all. The truth is that your body has to have them. Sugar is the only food that your brain can run on, and the sugar your body gets to fuel your brain cells comes from carbohydrates. Without them, you’ll die.
So How Do You Balance Your Carbs So That You Can Live and Live Well?
The good news is that it’s not that hard. There are certain limits to how many carbs you can eat. If you’re less active, then you have to pay a bit more attention. But by no means do you have to give up your favorite foods.
There Are Such Things As Good Carbs and Bad Carbs
Sugary sweets, even if they are made from totally-natural ingredients and whole grains, can’t be a dietary staple. But having a pastry now and then isn’t going to hurt you. If you totally deprive yourself of treats, you’ll likely damage yourself from stress that comes from feeling deprived and unfulfilled.
Processed sugar and high-sugar foods are often called “bad carbs”. They contain only sugars and lack useful nutrients. They digest too quickly and cause a spike in energy-often called a “sugar buzz”-that’s followed by a crash. They don’t help you work out and eating them causes you to use up your allowance for carbs and calories without getting the nutrients you need.
The Difference That Good Carbs Makes
Foods that contain complex carbohydrates or good carbs have additional nutrients, fiber and other essential ingredients for good health and weight maintenance. They digest far more slowly and give the body time to absorb nutrients and to combine the carbs with protein.
When the carbs in your blood can be combined with protein, your body can burn them promptly and use them to feed your brain. Whereas sugar carbs give you a buzz and then make you crash, good, slow carbs help you sustain energy levels.
Good carbs come from a variety of sources and common foods. Legumes, such as lentils and beans tend to have a good number of carbohydrates and also good quantities of protein, which should be consumed with carbohydrates to help your body use them in the most efficient manner.
If you’re losing weight, the recommended daily allowance should be reduced.
The US recommended daily allowance-or RDA-for carbs is 300 grams. The carb RDA for a person who is losing weight will likely be lower. Carbs can be added back depending on the needed energy level if you are losing weight too fast or lack energy. Just be sure to give yourself a few days to adjust. If you’ve been overeating, you’ll certainly be hungry until your body adjusts to less food intake.
Everybody cheats on their diet sometimes, and so should you.
This doesn’t mean keep breaking the rules, but once in a while, you need a treat because you’re only human. Once a week, have some cookies or a candy bar for the sake of staying sane.