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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Carbohydrates


There is a lot of confusion with regards to healthy eating. Carbohydrates is a major discussion point with some quarters stating that carbohydrates should be cut down (or even out) and some people suggesting that carbohydrates are the best thing for you. The truth is that carbs are not all bad, and are not all good. Simple?

What are Carbohydrates?

So what are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides, can be split into two separate groups; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are, essentially, sugars and can exist in natural or refined forms. Complex carbs are referred to as starch and also be found in natural or refined forms. The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy to the body.

Simple Carbohydrates

As mentioned before, simple carbs can be natural or refined. Common examples are lactose and sucrose. Sources of natural sugars are fruits and vegetables. Refined sugars are found in things like cakes, chocolate, honey, soft drinks and sweets.

Complex Carbohydrates

As with simple carbs, complex carbohydrates can be natural or refined. We can get our natural complex carbs from foods such as bananas, beans, potatoes, nuts, whole grains and root vegetables.

So should we eat carbohydrates or not?

We should absolutely have carbohydrates in our diet. Carbs are a fantastic source of energy for the body. Low carb diets exist, and have had major publicity, but the truth is that eating too much is why people put on weight, regardless of where we get our energy from. In fact, there are fewer calories in 1g of carbohydrate than in protein or fat. The key to carbohydrates is, essentially, choosing the right type of carbohydrate to consume. We should focus at getting our carbohydrates from vegetables, wholemeal foods, and other complex carbohydrates. Most reliable sources will suggest that around 60% of our energy should come from carbohydrates.

8 comments:

  1. Carbs are definitely important. I'm anti-Atkins, those fad diets seem to flashy to be reliable.

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    1. Definitely anti-atkins. It really is silly that people would suggest cutting out carbs. 2/3s of the diet should be carbohydrates!

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  2. Thank you for not demonizing carbs like some health blogs do... there's no reason to be afraid of them.

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    1. Exactly, they are so important to us.

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  3. As the others have said, I hate that atkins-style thinking of eliminating carbs all together. These people eat no carbs, and then they crash because they have no energy. Well, duh, right?

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