Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates Are an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that provide calories (energy) to our body (proteins and fats are the other two). One gram of carbohydrates supply four calories of energy.

Our body requires carbohydrates because:

  • Breads, grains and pastaThey are the body’s main source of fuel
  • They are easily used by the body for energy
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy
  • They are needed for the muscles, the central nervous system, the brain, the kidneys and the heart to function properly
  • They can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy
  • They are important for waste elimination and overall intestinal health

Types of Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are also referred to as “good” carbs.  Complex carbohydrates are fiber-rich and are absorbed into our body slower, which helps us avoid spikes in our blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates are primarily found in vegetables, grains (cereals, breads and pastas) and seeds.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are also referred to as “bad” carbs. Simple carbohydrates include sugar and refined-carbohydrates (grains that have been refined/processed and
aren’t 100% whole-grain). They have had some or all of the fiber, vitamins and minerals REMOVED from them while being processed. They offer little to no nutritional value making them “empty calories”. They cause spikes in your blood sugar and can lead to health problems including “carbohydrate cravings”, weight gain, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Simple carbohydrates are found in many foods, including: sugar (in many forms), foods made with white flour, non-diet sodas, fruit juices and fruit.

Fruit contains glucose, a naturally occurring simple carbohydrate. Fruit is part of a healthy diet and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Two servings per day are recommended.

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

Carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet. “Low-Carb Diets” are not backed by scientific evidence! Yes, Americans are getting fat from carbs, but not from the kind that are necessary for health. Americans are living dying on refined/processed carbs, the kind found in fast food, white pasta, white bread, white rice, white-flour crackers, white-flour breading, chips, candies, cakes, donuts, pies, bars, and the list goes on…

 

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