Carbs: Please eat them
Why carbohydrates are essential in the diet-
Marisa Crespo, our thoughtful writer and editor at Nutrition4 Kids, is always trying to engage readers with her energetic articles. She has her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and is interested in the psychology of eating as well as plant-based lifestyles. On her free time she enjoys creative writing, exploring parks and cities, and having a […]
Why we need carbs (carbohydrates)
In the 90s and early 2000s, it was trendy to be scared of eating fat. Twenty years later, people today are fearful of carbs (short for carbohydrates). Unfortunately, most people don't eat well-balanced meals with healthy sources of protein, fat and carbs. Even though eating more fat is "in" and carbs are "out", you really, really need to include carbs in your diet.
What's a carb?
Carbohydrates are naturally found in three forms: sugar, starch, and fiber. Both sugar (think fruits and sweeteners) and starch (potatoes and rice) break down in the body to produce glucose.
Fun facts: glucose is the main fuel source for the brain! Glucose is also the preferred energy source for all of our body's functions and movements (think cellular activity and muscle movement). Without carbohydrates to quickly and easily make glucose, our bodies can become tired, fatigued, and sluggish, and the body uses its protein or fat in a way that can cause chemical imbalances.
Fiber is the only carbohydrate that our bodies cannot breakdown. But it's needed to maintain our gut health, consistent bowel movements, and preventing unhealthy fats from clogging arteries. Fiber is mainly found in carbohydrate rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. On the other hand, most foods that are high in fat or protein (meat, dairy, eggs, and oils) have very little to no fiber in them.
What is NOT a Carb?
Quick, list carbs that people love to eat, but kill their diet! Cake, cookies, chips, donuts, french fries. That's partly true. While chips and french fries are from starchy potatoes, they are high in fat. The reason why these foods should be limited is not because they are high in carbs, but because they are high in calories and low in protein and fiber, which makes them less filling which makes you want to eat more.
So those foods we mentioned:
- Vanilla Cake: 56% carbohydrate, 41% fat
- Chocolate chip cookie: 50% carbohydrate, 41% fat
- Donuts: 51% carbohydrate, 44% fat
- Potato Chips: 41% carbohydrate, 57% fat
- French Fries: 38% carbohydrate, 59% fat
Your body NEEDS carbohydrate to fuel the body and brain functions, maintain a happy gut, prevent constipation, and protect artery and heart health.
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