Oh my Carbs! Who doesn’t love to eat toast with jam for breakkie or a nice bowl of pasta for lunch? They are our comfort foods, right? And thanks’ to the media we have been taught and heavily confused about carbs! Do they make us fat? How much should we eat per day? And what the heck are carbs anyway, what do we need them for? This and more you can find out here 🙂
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars, called glucose and are the simplest source of energy for our body and essential for our body to function. In fact, our brain cells only recognize glucose (sugar) as their main energy source!
What happens in our body when we eat carbs?
- When we eat carbohydrates our body breaks it down into simple sugars [glucose] which is our source of energy.
- Any glucose our body needs immediately for energy will be consumed by our cells.
- All the glucose that is not immediately needed is turned into glycogen by the liver.
- Glycogen is our short- term energy resource. We use it when we think, learn or go for a quick run because it needs to be accessed and converted into energy right away.
- The remaining Glucose- that is essentially eaten too much– will be converted into fat- which is our long term energy resource.
Do we gain weight from Carbs?
In a nutshell our body actually needs carbs for our energy BUT any EXCESS carbs are automatically converted into fat by our body. So what does this mean?
It means that if we eat too many carbs we can gain weight from it! It’s not thae carbohydrate on it’s own but it is how they are processed such as “white flour” which has been stripped from all its nutrition and is now just a “filler”. Furthermore our dishes are not only raw carbs like vegetables but highly fatty and salty carbs like Chips, Pizza or Burger. The combination makes it not only fattening but deadly! Furthermore you have to watch any form of sugar such as sugary drinks like Coke, Cakes or Packaged foods!
Foods containing carbohydrates [glucose]
- Bread, Bagel, Cereals,
- Pasta, Pizza
- Rice, Buckwheat, Oats
- Quinoa, Chia Seeds
- Potato, Sweet Potato
- Pumpkin, Corn
- Fruit & Dried Fruit
- Sugar: Cake, Chocolate, Buiscuits, Candies
- Sauces like Ketchup, BBQ sauce, Chutneys or Salad Dressings
- Jam, Honey, Marmalade
- Ready Meals & Soups
How much carbs can we eat to lose weight?
If you reduce your carb intake to 100-150g per day it will aid weight loss. However watch:
- That you do not go under the 100g as your body needs the energy to function!
- When you exercise you need to replenish the lost energy with carbs again!
- Constantly tiered on a very low carb diet? Then your body is telling you that you need more carbs
- Are you currently eating a heavy carb diet? Then slowly decrease the amount of carbs by omitting one carb per meal per week until you reach the 100-150g. Otherwise you get sugar cravings and you can easily fall back eating too many carbs.
Are all Carbs Bad?
Lucky for us nature has provided us with good and healthy carbohydrates, so not all is lost and you do not need to say good by to your carbs 🙂
More about Good VS bad carbs Here!
There you go, carbs are made up of glucose and are actually needed for our body to thrive. But we need to be mindful of how many carbs and which type of carbs we put on our fork!! If we eat too much and the wrong types of carbs such as a can of coke per day and fatty Pizza’s then we have a disaster waiting to happen to us in form of heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
I hope this little summary of carbs helped you see through the “bad carb” propaganda will aid you to make the right choices in the future.