From “I can’t eat too many carbs, I don’t want to gain weight” to “I have been eating too much of carbs, I need to cut down”, carbohydrates (also known as carbs), is a dreaded word that many, especially those on a diet, avoid from. Now, there are a lot of conflicting studies out there that give carbs a bad reputation, but how well do you know them, really? Let us unravel these four facts!
1. Rice, pasta and breads are not the only ones that contains carbs
Had salad for lunch? While fruits and vegetables are known for its dietary fibre content, they are also a source of carbohydrates. Unlike starches in rice, pasta or breads, fruits and vegetables is a combination of one or two sugars – and digest faster than complex carbohydrates (i.e. rice). You should not worry too much about its sugar content though, as they come along with many other essential minerals and vitamins. Just remember that you have got to eat in moderation!
2. Consuming carbs won’t make you fat; eating too many calories will
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates are also as essential as they make you feel full – especially when it comes to the fiber-rich carbohydrates – such as whole grains and brown rice. Brown rice contains 6% lesser carbs than white rice and can help you eat lesser! As such, an excessive consumption of carbohydrates, proteins or fats are the main factors that lead to weight gain.
3. Carbs are brain food
Carbohydrates are used as fuel by many vital organs of the body, especially the brain, in order to function properly. When carbohydrates are broken down, they become a simple carbohydrate known as glucose, which acts as a main energy source to power your body – even with the simplest tasks like walking and breathing.
4. Good carbs vs bad carbs
What are good carbs? Good carbs are the type of carbohydrates that do not raise your blood sugar too quickly or high and are often found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains (i.e. brown rice) and nuts. On the other hand, bad carbs are the ones that you want to avoid as they are higher in sugar, contains lesser nutrients, and gets broken down very quickly – raising your blood sugar every now and then. Bad carbs are mostly found in “unhealthy” foods like sugary drinks, white breads, pastries and french fries. To achieve a healthier diet, opt for brown rice over white ones as they have a lower Glycaemic Index (GI) and lower the risk of diabetes by up to 16%. Also, go for less processed and complex carbs if possible.
All in all, carbs are not created equally, but it can be beneficial to our bodies if we only we choose to learn to incorporate the “right” and “healthier” kind of carb in our diets.