Since when did “carb” become a four letter word? Since fad and crash diets were introduced into the mainstream. These days a lot of men and women on a diet are trying to avoid the dreaded “carb” in hopes of losing some excess weight that they may have on their tummies, hips and thighs. But here’s the thing: we cannot live without carbs. We need carbs.
Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates, when consumed, are quickly turned into blood glucose, which is used to fuel our body throughout the day. Blood glucose, for example, is the brains primary and preferred source of energy. Carbs cannot be stored like other vitamins, so the carbohydrate reserves must be replenished on a regular basis.
So since we need carbohydrates, why have they gotten such a bad rap lately? As carbohydrates do turn into sugar, if we don’t use the sugar (blood glucose) that is in our body, it will then be converted and stored as fat. This isn’t to say that carbohydrates are bad; this is simply to point out that most of us just eat too many carbohydrates, and we eat the “wrong” kind of carbohydrates. Some of the wrong kinds of carbohydrates are:
- White pasta
- White bread
- White rice
- Pizza (made with white flour)
You don’t have to cut out these “wrong” carbohydrates out completely; it’s all about moderation and proper portion sizes. No one needs to eat half a cake in one sitting, but a nice small piece so you get a taste of the cake will help satisfy your craving and add less weight to your body.
There are also substitutions for a lot of these “wrong” carbs that you can easily make while you are cooking at home. Here are some great healthy carbs you can start incorporating into your life today:
- If you like white bread, opt for whole wheat bread instead
- If frosted flakes are your preferred cereal in the morning, choose bran flakes
- Love French bread? Choose a whole grain or whole wheat baguette instead
- Switch from white pasta to whole wheat pasta
- Make the switch from white rice to brown rice
- Skip the granola bars and opt for some whole wheat rice cakes instead
- Throw some oats and wheat germ into your cereal
- Add some chopped up fruits to any cereal, salads, yogurts and stews you may make
- Serving lentils, beans and extra vegetables with your main meal is a great way to add some healthy carbs to your plate
It’s important to make sure that you are eating carbs, otherwise your body will burn out and you will become less productive. If you are currently exercising or working out at the gym, make sure that you eat a meal loaded with healthy carbs 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to your work out. You’ll get that extra energy boost needed to get a good work out, and you will burn off those carbs in no time.