The prospective regarding Carbohydrates or “carbs” are very skeptical these days. Our food consists of three primary components – carbohydrate, protein, and fat. All these three contribute to a healthy life along with essential vitamins and minerals.
These vital nutrients are essential for us to stay alive, but the consumption quantity may vary from person to person.
According to an article published on Healthline.com, half of our calories come from carbohydrates. On the contrary, some claim that carbs cause obesity and type 2 diabetes, and it should be avoided. It appears that carbohydrate requirements depend on individualistic choices. Some people are fine with eating plenty amount of carb and some people prefer lowering their carb consumption. This is because not many of us can differentiate between good carbs and bad carbs.
In this blog, we are trying to simplify the differences between good and bad carbs. And it would surely help you in making the right choices.
What is carbohydrate?
Carbs are molecules that are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. In nutrition, “carbs” attribute to one of the three macronutrients. The other two are protein and fat.
Dietary carbohydrates are split into three main categories:
Sugars: These are sweet, and are short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, sucrose, and galactose.
Starch: These are long chains of glucose molecules, which ultimately get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
Fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check
Why do we need carbs?
We do need carbohydrate to make our diet healthy. But do we need all kinds of carbs – that’s the question! Let’s explore why do we need them?
For Energy: Most carbs get broken down or is transformed into glucose, which is used as energy. It also acts as a fuel for other activities. Unused glucose gets converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles.
For a healthy bowel system: Fiber is an important part of a balanced health diet. It promotes good bowel health, reduces constipation, and some forms of fiber reduce cholesterol levels.
For healthy calories: Carbohydrates have lesser calories gram for gram than fat, and starchy foods are a good source of fiber, which means they can be a useful part of maintaining a healthy weight.
How much is too much?
Over a one-third of your diet should be made up of starchy foods, such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta, and over another third should include fruits and vegetables. This means that half of the daily calorie intake should come from starchy foods, fruit and vegetables.
Classification of carbs
Carbs are classified as simple and complex carbs, which can also be termed as whole and refined carbs.
|Whole carbs||Refined carbs|
|Unprocessed and contains natural fiber||Processed and natural fiber stripped off|
|Vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, potatoes and whole grains||Sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice|
|Loaded with nutrients and fiber. Therefore, do not cause spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.||Empty calories- lack of essential nutrients. Therefore, causes spikes and crashes of blood sugar levels.|
|High-fiber carbohydrates- improve metabolic health and a lower risk of disease.||Causes obesity, type 2 diabetes, and linked to all sorts of chronic diseases|
The right balance doesn’t any downside, but we should be careful while choosing.