Why Carbohydrates are Important to the Body?
Carbohydrates often get a bad reputation as being the reason why many people gain weight. However, the reality is that carbs have an important role in keeping a person healthy.
Take a look at the US Food Pyramid and see how much your body needs carbohydrates. Take note that there’s no recommendation for avoiding the intake of carbs at all.
Carbohydrate is the macronutrient that the body uses mainly for immediate energy. Fats and protein also provide the body with energy, but they are used later, after carbohydrate, the first energy source of the body, has been used up. The body prefers to use carbs first because they are easier to break down compared to fats and proteins. So, you’re doing your body a favor if you provide the carbs that your body needs to remain active.
Types of Carbs
Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. You should take in more of the complex carbohydrates, which require more effort and time to break down.
Breaking down complex carbohydrates slowly is good for the body. It helps provide your bloodstream with a more constant energy level. Unlike when eating simple carbohydrates, you experience high and low energy levels, because they are broken down quickly.
Choosing the Best Carbohydrate Source
The calories you get from carbohydrates everyday should be 50 to 60 percent of your daily total calories. Dietitians recommend taking whole grain foods and other complex carbohydrates. For simple carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are good choices because of their fiber content. Remember to get enough carbs for your body, so you can make sure that your body has all the calories and essential nutrients it needs.
Here is a list of the type of carbs you need to fill your plate with:
- Whole grains, such as bulgur, barley, buckwheat, oats and quinoa.
- Whole-wheat breads and pasta
- Brown rice
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Lentils, bens and dried peas
- Bran and other whole-grain cereals
Does the list above mean that you cannot have sweet treats, white rice or baked potato? Not at all, but it does mean that you shouldn’t make these foods your everyday selection of carbohydrates.
In addition, you should remember that when your diet is composed of too much of complex carbohydrates, it comes with lots of calories that can contribute to a possible weight gain.
Don’t skip the complex carbohydrates in your diet. You need it to provide fuel for your body. A bowl of brown rice or whole wheat pasta can nourish you, keep you healthy and active with consistent energy.
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