Carbohydrates are a common concern for people wanting to lose weight. There is so much miss leading information on the internet it is no wonder people often think that they need to cut them out in order to lose weight. However, I am here to tell you this is 100% not true, and it is so unsustainable. Can you honestly tell me that you will not eat a single carbohydrate for the rest of your life? The answer is probably be going to be no.
The term ‘carbohydrate’ comes from the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen-based molecules that are present in foods like fruit and grains.
Unlike essential proteins and fats, there are no essential carbohydrates. This means we can obtain everything we need nutritionally from other food sources, so carbohydrates are not necessary to maintain life.
This has brought about much debate over the inclusion and requirement of carbohydrates in our daily diets. Some experts claim we do not need them, while others suggest they should never be excluded (which is also my stance).
One thing we do know, is activity levels play a large role in how much energy you burn and therefore how much you require to ‘top-up’. The more active a person is, the more carbs are required to replace the energy used to perform and recover.
Basically, you’ve got to earn those carbs!
Brief Overview Of Carbohydrates
There are two types of carbohydrates, complex and simple
Regardless of which form (complex or simple) you consume the end result is the same. They are broken down into glucose (sugar) and then used by the body as fuel.
The biggest difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is the speed at which they are digested and processed. (Complex are processed slower)
Benefits Of Carbohydrates
Okay so now that we know a bit more about carbohydrates I want to share with you some benefits of including them into your diet.
Benefit #1 - Regulates Your Mood
You were probably not expecting this benefit, but the truth is what we eat can affect our mood and brain so much.
The way carbohydrates improve our mood is by helping the brain synthesize more serotonin. If you don't know serotonin is a neurotransmitter in charge of your mood. Therefore the more serotonin your brain synthesizes, the more your mood improves.
However for this to work well you can't just eat processed foods and sugar. No, you need to eat whole food, complex carbs, like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Benefit #2 - Increased Metabolism and Energy
Proper carbohydrate intake helps support normal thyroid and metabolic function. The carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar), which is then used by the body to produce ATP (energy).
Whilst we can get energy from fat, carbohydrates are the body's preferred source. This is especially true when working out.
Benefit #3 - Increased Workout Performance
Which brings me to benefit number three. Because carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of energy, when we consume them before a workout we see an increase in performance.
Low glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates) can lead to fatigue and tiredness during a long workout, which we don't want.
Benefit #4 - Great Source of Fibre
It is crazy how many people in the western world aren't getting enough fibre in their diet. It is so often overlooked. However, consuming enough fibre is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and being able to better absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.
As an added bonus fibre is digested slowly, which helps you stay fuller for longer. However to get enough fibre you often need to up your complex carbs intake as well, as they come from the same foods.
Benefit #5 - Promotes Heart Health
Eating more complex carbohydrates that are also high in fibre can help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) while increasing your HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol).
Yes, carbohydrates have a bad rep. However, the fact is they are our bodies preferred source of fuel for our brain and muscles. The biggest problem is that most of the time we are eating carbohydrates in the form of processed foods and refined sugars that don't offer much nutritional value to our bodies.
There is no need to cut carbohydrates out of your diet! Instead, just eat more whole foods and less processed foods.
What you should do now
I have been where you are and I have women all over the world (just like you) transition to eating a plant-based diet. If you are looking for a guide to help you find the healthiest way to eat, check out these blog posts it is a great place to start.
If you are interested in weight loss, download this fantastic FREE Mini Weight Loss Guide and other resources.
If you would like to fast track your weight loss, check out my Weight Loss Starter Kit.
And finally, if you want to join the Where My Footsteps Go Community click here.