Video version at the end of post.
It’s letter C in the ABCs of Health and we are jumping right into the deep end with CARBS! There are so many words I could have chosen for the letter C – cardio, consistency, conditioning, calories, calorie deficit, calculating macros, culture, etc etc etc. Why carbs?
1. Carbs are AWESOME
2. Carbs are being painted as the ultimate bad guy and it’s a pile of lies (except if you have allergies and intolerances, but you already know that 😄)
So let’s talk carbs. I’m going to keep it short and simple for you, and start with the bottom line: you don’t need to live without carbs, but you will probably live better with good carbs.
Carbs are a huge food group that has incredible health benefits, but since most of the junk food falls under carbs (think anything with sugar, most fried stuff, all white breads, most packaged snacks, etc) and we are increasingly bombarded with junk and fast food – the good carbs are being lumped up with the junk food and it’s the proverbial throwing out the baby with the bath water.
So let’s get some facts straight:
– it’s not carbs that drive obesity, it’s simple carbs (which easily convert to sugar) that drive obesity.
– the better the food, the more you can eat it. Meaning that good carbs (you’ll see them below) should be part of your eating plan.
– you don’t have to do anything – eat carbs or not. Just think twice before you stop eating something just because everyone else seems to be doing it.
There are two types of carbs: simple and complex, the kind that’s the best investment in your health, the best calories for nutrition, the best bang for your buck, so to speak, are the complex carbs. I’m not saying you’ll never eat a simple carb again (although you can absolutely go that route if you want to), I’m saying that complex carbs are the carb gods, and simple carbs are the ones that don’t really add to your health – yummy as they are.
Simple carbs are mostly the processed carbs. The simplified version of this is that our bodies quickly turn these carbs into sugar, they lack fiber and so they are processed quickly in our body. These are the carbs that don’t keep you full long, and spike your blood sugar.
Examples are doughs made with white flour, all things sugar, baked goods, most fried foods, chips, candies, stuff like that.
Complex carbs are slow carbs, meaning that they are full of fiber (and other good nutrients) and they are processed slowly in our body. These carbs keep us feeling fuller longer, keep us regular, give us sustained energy and are important for muscle maintenance.
Examples are fruits, vegetables (mostly the non starchy ones), beans, oats, whole grains, etc.
Carbs are not the enemy. Carbs are not a scary monster living in your kitchen or at restaurants. Eating moderate simple carbs will most likely not cause you to be unhealthy. The balance? The magic is in the balance.
With any food our goal should ultimately be to eat more nutrition for less calories, because this means eating less processed foods. I love a snickers bar just as much as the next person, and the occasional chocolate is fine… it’s the habit that creates the problem.
So instead of being scared of carbs, how about making small swaps and changes in your intake, so you can include the better kind in more volume, and thoroughly enjoy the simple kind more sparingly.
Our food industry would like us to believe that we cannot live without ultra processed foods, the diet industry has jumped on that bandwagon and is happily making increasingly fake food with beautiful marketing to make us eat less and less real food.
Ditch all that. Eat actual ingredients – including carbs, and your diet will become much healthier, giving you ample room to enjoy treats as a treat (no guilt required).
Keeping it simple,