Ever since I can remember, carbs have been my forbidden love. When you think carbohydrates, you probably think of bread, pasta, cookies, cake and everything else we all love to indulge in and feel guilty about later. The age old tale is that these kinds of food are ~bad~ for us and the key to weight loss is to cut them out, right?
Wrong! (Kind of.) What if we told you that not all carbs actually are bad and we may actually need them for our bodies to function? Cutting them out may not be the ultimate solution to optimal health. We’re totally going to blow your mind with what carbohydrates actually do to your body and why they might not be as *they* want us to think.
4. Not all carbs are the same
First of all, carbohydrates come in different forms. They can be broken into three different categories: simple, complex and dietary fibers. Simple carbs are shorter chains of sugar that come from noticeably sweet food, such as candy and fruit. This type of carb require little breakdown and go directly into the bloodstream and cause a blood sugar spike. Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugar and are not noticeably sweet. Complex carbs are what we typically think about when we think ‘carbs,’ like bread, pasta, potatoes, and oats. This causes a more gradual insulin spike, which makes you feel full for longer and is why we usually feel like we have a food baby after eating a bowl of pasta. The most healthy form of carbs is fibrous carbohydrates, which come from roughage such as leafy greens and vegetables.
3. When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose
After eating carbohydrates and the starches are broken down, the small intestine releases enzymes that break down sugar molecules further. They then are then absorbed into the bloodstream, according to BrainCraft. Glucose is the most important of these sugar molecules. It travels to the liver to be distributed through your body. Your cells use whatever glucose they need for energy, some gets stored in the liver as a reserve tank, and anything that is left over is stored as fat. The final step of the body’s process of breaking down carbs is where we get the idea that these foods = fat.
2. We actually do need carbohydrates for our body to function
Glucose is an important energy source needed by the cells and organs of our bodies, including our muscles and brains. Carbs are our body’s main source of energy since they are such a great source of glucose. Other essential nutrients like fat and protein are also necessary, but carbs actually help to fuel our metabolism. Cutting out glucose can actually do more harm than good to your body. They are what gives us the energy to do basically everything. The “carbs cause weight gain” problem comes in when we eat too many simple carbs.
1. …But you have to eat the right ones
A balanced diet is obviously the key. Cutting out carbohydrates is usually code for cutting out bread, cake and other delicious food that we know isn’t the best for our bodies. Fibrous carbs such as bananas, apples, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, etc. are the kind of foods that your body will thank you for eating. However, it’s never wrong to indulge in some “bad” carbs every once in awhile. I mean, a girl has to have some cake sometimes.