Busting the carbohydrate myth

By: Zest For Life Nutrition  30-Jul-2013
Keywords: Nutrition, Health, Lose Weight

It’s time to talk about this carbohydrate myth. For too long carbs have been demonised as the “bad” food that results in weight gain and poor health. The truth is – our bodies need carbohydrates to function properly. Carbohydrates are the major fuel source for our bodies, and the only fuel our brains like to use. It is recommended that adults get between 45 and 60% of their daily energy from carbohydrates, preferable low GI and low-energy sources. Just as an example, this means that for a person eating around 8000kJ per day (which is a bit below the average Aussie), between 225g and 325g of this food needs to be carb. It seems like a lot doesn’t it? However, if the carbohydrate sources are foods such as grainy breads, fruit, legumes and lentils you will be amazed at how energized and alert you feel. I think the victimisation of carbohydrates stems from two places: 1. Not all carbohydrates are equal – Fresh fruit, pasta with vegetable based sauces, grainy breads, legumes and lentils and reduced fat milk and yoghurt are all great sources of carbohydrate that contain other vital vitamins, minerals and fibre. Carbohydrate sources such as lollies, chips, cakes and biscuits contain large amounts of refined sugars, and are often high in fat which means they give you more energy – meaning that you gain weight if you do not use that energy 2. Carbohydrate foods are often accompanied or adorned by energy dense foods such as creamy dressings or sauces (in the case of pasta), thick layers of spread on bread or toast, “flavourings” for drinks such as nesquick or topping, or processed and/or fatty foods (for example in the case of a salami sandwich). All of these things really ramp up the energy value of the food, and can contribute to weight gain. I think the best thing we can do for our bodies is make sure we eat enough carb containing foods to properly fuel our bodies, but make your choices healthy - include grainy breads and cereals, reduced fat dairy, fresh fruit and legumes and avoid the highly refined sugars found in soft drinks, cordials, lollies, cakes and biscuits and a lot of processed and packaged food.

Keywords: Carbohydrates, Diet, Dietitian, Health, Lose Weight, Nutrition, Personal Fitness, Weight Gain, Weight Management

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