Carb Myths

Carbohydrates Are Not The Enemy

First carbs ( carbohydrates) ARE NOT the enemy. You can have your carbs and eat It to. With all the low carb “diets” to choose from It might seem Impossible. These days, carbs are frequently demonized by popular media and diet culture. People often proclaim the “benefits” of low-carb diets with an almost religious zeal. Many Individuals have developed a sense of anxiety and guilt surrounding foods containing carbs.

First things first, though, I have to get a couple of things straight. Cereal, bread, and pasta are not the only carbs you can find In the grocery store. Carbs are more all-encompassing than you may think, and many more foods fall under the carb umbrella than many realize. Carbs can be divided into three groups: sugar, starches, and fiber. Natural sugar, like the kind, found In fruits and vegetables, represents the simplest form of carbohydrates, and It may be obtained In three forms: lactose, fructose, and sucrose. Starches are those sugar units bonded together, and naturally occurring starch can be found In rice, beans, peas, and other grains. Fiber Is also made of bonded sugar, and fiber occurs In vegetables, whole grains, peas and dry beans, bran, soya beans, and more.

Do you still think you’ve completely sworn off carbs? It’s not all about saying no to pizza and bagels. If you really are on a no-carb diet, then you’re saying no to a whole lot more, and if you think you’ve failed, have no fear! As It turns out, carbs are friends, not foes, and I’m going to explain why.

Carb Myth #1 (Carbs Make You Gain Weight)

When you cut back on carbs, you could lose weight because you’ve cut out a large number of calories from your diet. And while It Is true that you’ll notice a couple of pounds drop right off when you go low-carb, that’s really just water weight. In the longer-term, low-carb diets may not be the answer to real weight loss. Low-carb and no-carb diets have not been shown to be more effective at weight loss than a balanced diet.

The real problem with carbs Is that we often don’t know what a portion should look like, so we eat way too much. Most of us should aim for 130 to 150 grams of carbs per day—with a slice of bread, for example, serving somewhere in the ballpark of 15 to 28 grams. One typical meal can easily provide half of your daily carb allowance. A large blended coffee drink, for example, could add up to 94 grams of carbs, says Sheth. Instead, spread carbs throughout the day to have a steady source of energy. That means having a single portion, or about 30 to 45 grams of carbs, per meal: two slices of whole grain bread, one cup of cooked grains or starchy veggies, or one cup of fruit.

Another common pitfall is not balancing carbs with other foods that help you stay satisfied. We know that carbs have an Immediate effect on our blood sugar, adding other foods Into the mix keeps blood sugar stable. So look at what’s missing from your plate: It should be about half non-starchy veggies (like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, spinach); one-quarter protein (meat, fish, poultry, soy); and one-quarter starchy carbs. If you’re not pairing carbs with fat or protein, you won’t feel full.

Carb Myth #2 Carbs Make You Happy (Really, They Do)

Really, they do. If you haven’t noticed carbs can and do make people happy. Have you ever wonder why your friend who Is on a low-carb diet might not be happy or cheery. Here Is the reason why. We’ve all heard of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin before, and though there is no food that can directly affect serotonin levels, the results of a study conducted by the Archives of Internal Medicine, highlighted by Eating Well, supports researchers’ suspicions that carbs promote the production of serotonin.

It is believed that the intake of carbohydrate-rich foods can increase the amount of serotonin produced by the brain because carbs can help increase the tryptophan ratio over other amino acids. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is important for serotonin synthesis, so if carbohydrate-rich foods help aid its production, they can help serotonin levels rise.

According to Eating Well, the study by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet for a year experienced more depression, anxiety, and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit, and beans. The key Is choosing the right carbs.

Carb Myth #3 (Bread & Pasta) Are Not The Enemy

Believe It or not, bread and pasta are not the enemy. It goes back to It’s the portions and the type of grains you pick that destroy your weight-loss goals. One cup of cooked rice or pasta, for example, has about 45 grams of carbs. “Before you know It, a typical restaurant serving of pasta and garlic bread can get you In the ballpark of 75 or more grams of carbs. If you’re eating out, ask your waiter to Immediately wrap up half of your plate to-go when you order—that way It’s out of sight, out of mind. If pasta or rice Is your main dish, skip the bread basket and bulk up your meal with a side of filling but low-cal salad or veggies. Whenever possible, try and pick a whole-grain option, which has more fiber so you feel fuller for longer. At the store, choose bread with at least three grams (and Ideally five) of fiber per slice.

Carb Myth #4 Carbs Give You Energy

I said It before and I’ll say It again. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy — they fuel your life, especially your physical activity. There’s a reason runners “carbo-load” before their big races, and It’s not only because carbs taste good. It’s because they can tell how the complex carbs affect their performances. Glucose Is the main source of energy required for your daily activity comes from, and you get your glucose from the starches and sugars you eat. Starches and sugar fall under the carbohydrate umbrella, and It Is these kinds of carbs that get broken down Into simple sugar with the help of Insulin during digestion.

Our body breaks them down and turns them Into sugar, or glucose, and then uses that, not only for Immediate energy that Is free flowing In our blood (hence why It elevates our blood sugar levels), but also for future use, where It’s stored In our muscles and liver (that’s where the Idea of carbo-loading before a race comes Into play).

The reason that carbs get such a bad rap Is that the extra sugar available from the glucose formation gets stored In muscles, the liver, or other parts of your body, later getting converted Into fat If the body doesn’t need It for energy. However, that’s on you, not the carbs. If you keep moving and require your body to use up that energy, the sugar from carbohydrates won’t get stored as fat. Case In point: Carbs don’t make you fat. How much you eat and how little you move makes you fat.

Carb Myth #5 All Carbs Are Created Equal

Get the right kind of carbs by cutting out as many processed and baked goods, sugary drinks, sweets, and added sugars (found In tons of packaged foods) as possible from your diet, since they’re all packed with empty calories. Instead, choose whole grains (whole-wheat bread, brown rice, ancient grains like quinoa and bulgur), starchy veggies (potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, and lentils), and fresh fruit. These have more fiber, which keeps your blood sugar from spiking and dropping—a side effect that will have you reaching for your next bite In no time flat.

Carb Myth #6 Carbs Help You Maintain Weight

Many consumers blame any and all weight gain on carbs, but carbs have been proven to help dieters maintain their weight as long as people are picking the right carbs to eat and are eating them In moderation. The great thing about carbs Is that they fill you up and keep you satiated, keeping you from reaching your hand Into the cookie jar late at night. Diets rich In carbohydrates can be helpful In reducing weight and controlling muscle tone because many carb-filled foods are even more filling than protein or fat, and that makes them powerful appetite suppressants.

That’s the problem with low-carb diets: Consumers on these types of regimes have a hard time feeling satiated (Fuller), and therefore their hunger signals cause them to give up or binge eat sooner rather than later. Maintaining a regimen In which carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric Intake or 361 grams, Is a better Idea because It helps you stay satiated and stay focused on your weight maintenance or weight loss goals.

Most low-carb diets limit people to fewer than 30% of total calories from carbs. That number, compared to the goal 64% that researchers recommend, Is a big Indicator of why so many people on low-carb fad diets end up crashing and burning. The key to maintaining a carb-rich diet and maintaining your weight Is focusing on the right carbs to eat.

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