The Skinny on Nutrition
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Several popular diet fads in recent history have emphasized reducing the amounts of carbs consumed on a daily basis, or eliminating them altogether. In fact, “carb” has become a buzz-word for unhealthy, fattening foods that will send you straight to the gym for hours upon consumption. Instead of fearing carbs, it’s important to understand what carbs are and how the body processes them before deciding to remove them from your menu.
What are carbs?
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Did you know that quinoa, the wonder-child of health foods, is a carb? So is an apple. Your favorite diet soda also contains carbs. Carbs, or carbohydrates, are one of three macronutrients the body needs for normal, healthy functions, according to Livescience.com (the other macronutrients are protein and fats, in case you were wondering). In other words, your body needs those carbs to keep you going throughout the day. Without the proper amount of carbs, you’ll feel low-energy and sluggish.
But Why Are Carbs So Bad?
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Carbs get a bad rap because we focus on simple carbs, or monosaccharides, which contain two or fewer sugars and are often found in candy, sodas and other processed foods. These carbs don’t have a lot of nutritional value, but they often have quite a few calories, which means your body is running on low-quality fuel. Simple carbs are digested quickly, meaning they’ll give you a quick boost of energy (such as the famous “sugar high”), but won’t fuel you for very long, and can lead to a “crash” when the energy is depleted.
Polysaccharides, or complex carbs, are often foods that your doctor encourages you to eat, such as beans, vegetables and whole-grains. These carbs have three or more sugars and take time for the body to digest, which gives you energy over the long run. These foods also tend to be high in nutrients and fiber, which are essential to regular functions of the body as well. They also contain fewer calories, meaning the calories they do have are giving you more back for your buck, health-wise.
So Should I Eat Carbs?
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The answer depends on your health goals and is something you should absolutely discuss with your doctor. Some people have medical reasons to reduce carbs in their diets, while other people do it because they think eliminating carbs will help them lose weight. While carbs make up the majority of regular calorie intake, the amount you need depends on your activity level and should be balanced with fats and proteins for optimal health, according to Fitday. Some people, like athletes, stock up on whole-grain pasta and noodles right before a major event to give them more energy, while healthy simple carbs, such as fruits, should be eaten after physical activity to bring energy levels back up. The most important thing should be making sure your body has adequate nutrition to function properly. A dietician, nutritionist or weight-loss specialist can work with you to determine the number of carbs you should consume throughout the day to meet your fitness and nutritional goals.
We at OtaJoy advocate eating delicious foods in moderation and getting plenty of exercise for optimal health. We’re working hard each day to create products that taste great and keep you going throughout the day.
Szalay, Jessie. "What Are Carbohydrates?" LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
"Balancing Carbohydrate / Protein Intake For Max Energy / Nutrition / Carbs." Balancing Carbohydrate / Protein Intake For Max Energy / Nutrition / Carbs. Ed. Fitday Editor. FitDay, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.