It seems that a healthy diet cannot be described without mentioning carbs.
They are more often than not vilified as the main culprit for the health crisis that we face today.
Yet, few people understand what carbohydrates actually are and the role they play in our bodies.
Without them, you will practically cease to exist.
Carbs are actually an all-important nutrient and energy source.
What carbs are
Carbs (or carbohydrates) are one of the three energy sources that come from food (fat and protein being the other two.)
They are found in all plant foods in their complex and unrefined form.
Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains all contain carbs in their natural form, together with fiber and micronutrients.
However, we, humans, have invented ways to remove said fiber and micronutrients and make processed, refined carbs.
Refined carbohydrates are unnatural and foreign to the body, without any nutrition whatsoever.
These are sugars, white flour, white rice, even honey.
Basically there are two types of carbs: processed (bad) carbs and unrefined, natural (good) carbs.
So, you heard well that carbs are bad for you but only the processed ones.
The natural ones, though, are what you need to live.
Your body runs on carbs
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source of the body.
They are so vital for our brain function that the body will convert proteins from our muscles into carbohydrates to sustain life.
The protein we eat does not get converted into carbs.
The fat we eat cannot replace them.
You only need so much carbs at a time
As important as carbs are, the body needs a constant supply of them circulating in the blood.
If a lot of carbs (or fats/proteins) suddenly flood our blood, the body needs to reduce them to appropriate levels.
The body does not have a big storage tank for carbohydrates and it gets full quite fast.
That means storing excess carbs as fat by secreting unnaturally high amounts of insulin which damages the body.
Refined carbs are immediately absorbed in the blood and cause such an unhealthy insulin spike.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]Check out our Understanding Carbs section[/su_pullquote]
Natural, unprocessed carbohydrates are absorbed slowly over many hours.
They are released into the blood gradually and provide a steady fuel source.
Unrefined carbs are healthy and vital energy source for great health.
Natural, unrefined carbs will keep your weight in check
As you know now, when you eat processed carbs, they go into the blood all at once and much of them are stored as fat.
So when you run out of carbs, you get hungry. And you got a bit fatter in the process.
Natural whole carbohydrates are released slowly and are used to fuel you and not stored as fat.
That means that if you get most of your energy from unprocessed foods, you will not get hungry as quickly and not store fat on your body.
Whole plant foods provide the carbs we need
Plants are mostly carbohydrates (except nuts and seeds).
Whole plant foods equal whole unrefined carbohydrates (unrefined fats and healthy protein as well).
Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, brown rice, corn, whole grains are just to name a few of the abundant variety of whole plant foods you can eat.
And it is delicious.
Just try some of our recipes.
And, always, seek health consciously.