What are carbs and why do you need them? That seems to be a huge question in the weight loss community, so I figured that as a certified nutritionist and personal trainer of over 10 years I should weigh in and share some advice about carbs.
First things first, carbs are not evil. You don’t have to completely cut carbs to lose weight. Your body needs carbs for energy! With that, let’s get into the what’s what of carbs and nutrition.
What are carbs?
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are the fibers, starches, and sugars in grains, but also found in fruits, veggies, and milk products. Your body uses carbs, protein, and fat for energy. Have you ever heard people saying, “track your macros,”? Macros are those three things–carbs, protein, and fat, and each comes from foods you eat.
You’ve definitely heard of carbs being in bread, cereals, rices, but you can find carbs in fruits, veggies, and milk products. For example, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and broccoli are just some of the veggies that have carbs. See, it’d be impossible to cut out carbs completely because carbs are in just about everything.
What is the difference between complex and simple carbs?
We’ve got complex carbs and we’ve got simple carbs–is one better than the other? What’s the difference between complex and simple carbs? The difference between complex and simple carbs lies in their chemical makeup and how quickly the sugars are absorbed and digested.
Lots of people talk about good carbs and bad carbs. Complex carbs are the ‘good’ carbs, while simple carbs are the ‘bad’ carbs. Complex carbs take longer to digest so they’ll keep you feeling full for longer. Simple carbs break down quickly which can spike your blood sugar.
Simply put: fill your diet with complex carbs to keep your energy levels up and feeling full for longer. “Bad” carbs don’t really have much nutritional value–think cakes, cookies, and donuts. Complex, or “good” carbs are going to keep you full and happy–like whole grains, veggies, and beans.
Why are carbs important for your body?
Carbohydrates are the main thing your body uses for energy–so we don’t want to cut those out! When you cut out carbs or eat only simple carbs, you will find yourself hangry and frustrated pretty quickly.
List of Good Carbs
What are good carbs? Before choosing which carbs to fill your diet with, check out this quick list of good carbs:
- Whole Wheat Options
- Whole Wheat Pasta or Bread
- Starchy Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Peas
- Black Beans
- Green Vegetables
There you have it! The ins and outs of carbohydrates. If you are looking for more help with planning a healthy diet, you should check out my 15 Day IdealShape for Life Challenge! I’ve planned out delicious meals using good carbs and fun workouts to help you reach your ideal shape! Check it out, I’ll see you in there!