3 reasons why carbs aren’t the enemy
Carbs seem to have gained a bad reputation in the world of health and fitness. It seems like almost every new fad diet out there boasts that it’s low carb or helps you to cut carbs out of your diet. I’m not saying that carbs are perfect and that you can eat as many as you want, but there are good carbs, and they don’t deserve their bad reputation.
First things first, what are carbs? Carbs are one of the three main energy sources that your body uses. Coming in the forms of sugar, starch and fibre 1 , carbs are present in most food that you eat in at least one of these forms. With all of that in mind, here are 3 reasons why carbs aren’t the enemy.
They’re your main energy source
No matter what you’re doing you’re using energy, even while you’re sleeping! Carbs are the main source of energy for your muscles. Your body can only store so many carbs in the form of glycogen, so you need to be ingesting carbs to constantly top up your reserves and make sure that you’ll be energized for the gym!
By making sure that you keep your glycogen stores up, you’re making sure that you give yourself the best possible recovery between your workouts 2 .
They help with mood and brain power
Regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or you’re stuck behind a desk all day, your brain needs fuel.
Not eating enough carbohydrates makes us feel tired and lethargic as there is not enough glucose in the blood, which is a condition called hypoglycemia 3.
One study found that when reporting their mood, subjects found that if they were having more carbs, the happier they tended to be 4 . That isn’t to say that you should binge on refined sugars all the time, but carbs need to be part of a healthy diet.
Carbs reduce risk of disease
Being more specific, consuming high amounts of fibre can reduce the risk of heart disease 5 . We should be getting 30g of fibre in our diets per day to reduce this risk, but most people only eat an average of 19g. Fibre can help to keep you fuller for longer, meaning that you won’t eat as much later in the day, potentially helping you lose weight. Also, it’s been linked with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Make sure you eat your 30g per day!
These benefits aren’t an invitation to go nuts and gorge yourself on treats that are high in refined sugar, there are good carbs and bad carbs. Load up on things like fruit, oats and brown rice to make carbs your friend.