Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—your body needs all of these three macronutrients to function properly. Unfortunately, carbs are not often seen in a positive light; they are even considered as enemies when it comes to losing or maintaining weight.
Staying healthy and fit, however, does not mean you must eliminate them from your diet. It is all about finding the right balance for you and your body.
To help you make more informed choices when it comes to your carbs, we’d like to share with you some truths about them:
1. Carbohydrates Are Not Naturally High in Fat
Since people who go on low-carb diets tend to lose weight, it has been widely believed that carbohydrates are fattening.
However, what’s important to note is that unprocessed carbs have around the same calorie content as protein. It is the cooking process that brings these unwanted fats and calories.
For example, a potato is not an innately high-fat food. Baking it will give you the same nutrients as what you started with. Frying it in oil, however, gives you at least an extra 10 grams of fat per serving.
People on low-carb diets shed pounds not because they have cut out all carbs, but because they have removed calorie-dense foods in their diet. Moreover, studies show that weight loss levels for those on a moderate-carb diet are often the same as those on a low-carb diet.
2. A Low-carb Diet Does Not Always Prompt Weight Loss
As mentioned above, low-carb diets have established a name for themselves in the weight loss department. The drastic initial weight loss excites low-carb dieters and encourages them to share this dieting “trick” with others. However, you should know that this quick weight loss is actually due to loss of water weight.
On a low-carb diet, your body starts using glycogen (your body’s stored form of glucose), as an energy source after it has used up glucose. Metabolizing glycogen requires water, so this naturally leads to quick water weight loss.
While they can bring visible results fast, long-term low-carb diets may not be sustainable for many individuals. In fact, a recent study found that those who moderately ate grains were less likely to be overweight or obese compared to grain avoiders. Additionally, the former also had lower risks of metabolic complications.
3. Your Body Needs Carbohydrates
While protein is important in building and repairing tissues in your body, carbohydrates fuel your brain, boost your energy, and maintain your metabolism.
Glucose, a form of carbohydrate, plays a crucial role in homeostasis—or your body’s ability to maintain relatively stable internal, physical, and chemical conditions despite changes in your surroundings. It is also essential for every organ system in your body: from your kidneys and liver to your brain. Lastly, it is what fuels you to finish your tasks throughout the day and energizes you during your workout.
4. Try to Stay Away From Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbs like white rice, pasta, bread, flour, etc eventually turn into sugar which does damage to your body. Try to eat complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, etc.
With low-carb diets rising in popularity, carbohydrates have been painted in a negative light. If you take a closer look at these macronutrients, however, you will understand that they are essential in your growth and development.
Additionally, there are steps you can take to lose weight without completely removing this important factor in your diet. Paying attention to how you prepare your food and moderating your carbohydrate intake, for example, will keep those unwanted pounds at bay and help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
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