Poor carbohydrates get the brunt of the silly diet industry!
From one fad diet to another, carbohydrates are made out to be the bad guy and they say people need to avoid them.
Before you choose to ditch these delicious and nutrient-rich goodies, let’s check the facts and truly understand these misunderstood foods.
What is a Carbohydrate anyway?
This could take a bit, so pull up a chair and pay attention!
Carbohydrate is a BIG word with an even bigger meaning. Under the word carbohydrate, there are many subcategories – starches, fruit, veggies, pasta, rice, beans, legumes, milk, etc.
Plants store carbohydrates in the form of starch and fiber. Starch acts as the plants’ reserve energy for when it grows or produces fruit, while fiber is used to maintain the structure of the plant. When we eat plant-based foods, we are eating their stored starch and fiber, which contributes to our overall carbohydrate intake for the day.
Fiber is poorly digested by humans, making it a perfect tool to grab ahold of various waste products in the gut and move them out of our body. Consumption of foods with high fiber content has been linked to improving cholesterol, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal disorders in various individuals. Starchy foods often have a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B, E and iron.
Why do humans NEED Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the body’s #1 fuel source. When you eat carbohydrates, they actually do good things for your body and brain. They are broken down into glucose that fuels your brain and central nervous system! Kind of two important functions for life!!!
When you eat a carbohydrate, your body processes it into glucose. Next, our bodies will use some of the glucose immediately and store the rest as glycogen, which is found in our muscles and liver. Glucose levels in the blood are often referred to as blood sugar. Our body must regulate the amount of sugar in our blood to prevent damage to our organs. It does this by excreting a hormone called insulin from the pancreas, once the digestion of carbohydrates begins.
Why does the diet industry even say cut carbs??
Why does the diet industry do anything they do? Who knows! One reason the diet industry says to cut carbs is it’s a “quick fix.” Initially, you are losing water weight that fakes people into thinking they are on the “right path” to health. Sadly, a life without carbohydrates is not sustainable since carbs provide so many vital minerals and vitamins.
As word to the wise – if any diet asks you to cut something out, think twice about that plan. Food is not the enemy. Learning how to find your balance and learning how to nourish YOUR body takes time.
None of us came with an instruction manual and that’s what the dietitians here can help you with. Before cutting out carbs or following ANY silly diet, ask the experts…us!!
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.