“Carbs are the devil”
“Carbs make you fat.” “You should avoid carbs if you want to lose weight.” “Carbs are the devil!”
Let me ask you a couple of questions.
- Would you like to remove fiber from your food? You know — that substance that keeps you full longer, helps remove cholesterol, and helps you avoid constipation?
- What about removing a good source of B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and magnesium?
- How about removing a food that helps control blood sugar?
- Or one that helps prevent bone loss or muscle fatigue?
Did you answer “no” to these questions?
Carbohydrates are an important part of what we eat and help with all of the above actions. But let’s back up.
What is a carbohydrate?
Great question! I’m glad you asked. A carbohydrate can be in the form of sugar, starch, or fiber. Sugar is considered a “simple carb,” while starch and fiber are considered “complex.”
Simple carbs break down quickly in the body, provide quick energy, and can cause a spike in blood sugar. In the form of fruit, simple carbs are good before and during a hard and long bout of exercise when you need extra fuel. However, on a daily basis, these should be limited. Examples of simple carbs are: sugar, sodas, honey, sweetened cereals, white bread, and pasta.
Complex carbs are where it’s at. Whole grains such as oats, barley, and wheat, legumes such as black beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans, starchy vegetables, and dairy products — these are the complex carbs you want to eat. These are broken down slowly by the body and help with all of those items above.
How many should I eat?
Again, great question! You are on it today. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that 45%-65% of your calories come from carbohydrates. For example, a 150-pound woman who eats 1800 calories per day should eat between 810-1170 calories of carbs. At 4 calories per gram, that is between 202-292 grams of carbs.
45% or 65% — Which is right for me?
If you are involved in an endurance sport, such as soccer or long-distance running, then aim for the higher end. If you are more sedentary or more into power sports, then aim for the lower end. Experiment with what you like and what matches your lifestyle.
Is there ever a time when a low-carb lifestyle is appropriate for me?
Yes. Can I tell you exactly how many you should have right now? No — not without sitting down with you and getting to know you better. A low-carb lifestyle works for some people, but it must be done properly. If you are wondering how to incorporate carbs into your diet, now is a great time to speak with a nutrition professional. Testing your DNA may also aid in figuring out how many carbs to eat. Ultimately, it is all about balance.
Contact me to schedule your complimentary health assessment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kristin Metzler is a Certified Health Educator. She has a Master’s Degree of Nutrition from NC State and is the Area Manager for Total Nutrition Technology. A minivan-driving, soccer mom of 3, she knows how hard it is to feed a busy family nutritious food. She believes that if “healthy doesn’t taste good, you are doing it wrong.” You can contact her at email@example.com or visit the TNT website at Nutrition Technology – Nutrition Plan Weight Loss Programs.
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