There are several diet crazes going on nowadays. And you know what? Most of them involve cutting out a specific kind of food or extremely limiting calories. The most common type of food eliminated by these diets are carbohydrates. That means no grains, no fruit, and no chocolate. Those are my three favorite food groups! Well, I am grateful for my nutrition class. I learned that carbs aren’t all bad, you just need to be careful about them.
First off: let’s talk about what carbs are. What they boil down to is sugar. As I mentioned before, that means they are in fruit and candy. But what about bread? Well, when bread is digested, it’s broken down into sugar. What this means is that there are two kinds of carbs: the good kind and the bad kind.
The bad kind are called simple carbohydrates. They aren’t good for you because they provide very little nutrients, and your body doesn’t have to work hard to digest them. Simple carbs include things like white bread, chocolate, and fruit.
In contrast, there are also complex carbohydrates. These are found in things with whole grains, like rice, whole grain bread, and sprouts. These are great for you because they have the whole grain in it, which means lots of fiber. Fiber technically doesn’t have any nutritional value, but it is still great for you. That’s because it makes your body work hard to digest it.
So now that we have a little background on what carbs are and how to classify them, let’s dig a little deeper. Ultimately, the function of carbs is to provide energy. That’s where the idea of a “sugar rush” comes from. Let’s compare sugar to it’s close neighbor, fat. Fat also provides energy, but in a different way than carbs do. Carbs are intended for instant energy, like when you are running on a treadmill or lifting a big box, while fat sticks to your body and stores itself for a rainy day, when you don’t have enough carbs (this usually happens about 15 minutes into a workout, in case you were wondering). Fat is also necessary for brain function though, so you don’t want to cut it out completely.
Anyways, the reason I bring up fat is because they are so close to carbs. Carbs, when too many are consumed, turn into fat. When I first heard this, I was floored. But after I thought about it, I realized that it makes sense; when you get enough carbs in your system, the extra go into storage. This is where the carb-cutting diets came from. Living in a country where food is readily available, we consume way too many fats and carbohydrates. This is why we are having an “obesity crisis”.
To to kind of sum everything up, carbs are energizers. They provide instant energy for you to do your everyday tasks. However, you don’t want to eat too many; they will turn into fat and stick to your body. So make sure you are getting the proper amount. Oh, and MyPlate (the replacement of my pyramid) recommends that you make half of your grains whole. I think that the other half should be devoted to fruits, and maybe a little chocolate So that’s it! Make sure you get good carbs, but not too many.