What are Carbohydrates?
The kind of foods we consume has a direct impact on our system and health. Every food we eat has its own set of either nutritional or adverse effects on our bodies. Our health is directly related to the food we eat. The easiest way to keep your body healthy is to eat a balanced meal, that consists of the necessary nutrients required by your body. Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are the three macronutrients needed by our body for proper functioning. The primary source of energy required by our body comes from consuming carbohydrates or carbs. Carbohydrates are macronutrients, which means it needs to be consumed in large amounts. Carbs can be classified into sugar, starch, and dietary fiber. That occurs in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products.
Types of Carbohydrates
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbs, and complex carbs.
- Simple carbohydrates are sugar, consisting of one or two molecules. Simple carbs are easily absorbed by the body and provide a rapid source of energy. However, a person soon starts feeling hungry again. As these carbs get absorbed by the body faster, the energy required for metabolism gets depleted faster, making the person feel hungry more often. Simple carbohydrates are found mostly in foods containing refined sugar, white bread, dairy products, and highly processed food.
- Complex carbohydrates are made up of long chains of sugar molecules. These take longer to be absorbed by the body and hence give you energy for a longer time. Consuming complex carbs can also make you feel fuller for a longer period as it consists of starch and fiber, which take a longer time to break down. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The good carbs
As mentioned earlier, complex carbohydrates take longer to be digested. It results in a steady release of energy which prevents a hike in blood sugar levels. The complex carb can also be termed as “whole carbs” or “good carbs.” It has nutritional layers like fiber and bran, which is good for the digestive system too. Whole carbohydrates are also minimally processed and contain natural nutrition that is beneficial for our bodies. Furthermore, fuelling your body with healthy carbs also keeps your organs charged and eliminates the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. These are low in calories and saturated fats, which are high in natural fibers and nutrients. The following foods are a great source of good carbohydrates :
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
The bad carbs
Highly processed food or food having a higher sugar content is considered bad for our health as it might lead to many health complexities. One of the primary health concerns can be diabetes. Simple carbohydrates get absorbed by the body quickly, which leads to a spike in blood sugar levels. Also, these carbs are depleted of their natural nutritional content because of being highly refined and processed. Bad carbohydrates are high in cholesterol, calories, and saturated fats. Some examples of bad carbohydrates include :
- Sugary beverages
- White bread
- Junk food
- Refined and highly processed food
How to make the right choice?
Carbohydrates are delicious, but not all carbs are healthy. You do not have to give up on your favorite food substitute it with a healthier version. Check out the ingredients. Go whole-grain bread and pasta instead of white flour. Opt for food with naturally sweetened ingredients rather than the ones containing refined sugar. When taken moderately and as part of a balanced diet, carbohydrates can be healthy and prove beneficial to your body.
You must plan your meal in balanced proportions. Consuming whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice is filling as well as healthy. Vegetables are also one of the best sources of plant-based nutrients. For snacking you should always choose natural and plant-based options like nuts, seeds, and whole fruits.
Carbohydrates in their natural unrefined, and unsweetened forms are very healthy and provide your body with the best form of nutrition. So, make the right choice and switch to a diet that is good for you. Most plant-based foods are a great source of whole or good carbohydrates that are beneficial for your body.