Longevity Living | To Eat Carbs or Not To Eat Carbs

Over the years carbs have been given a bad rap. When many celebrities jumped on the low-carb diet during the late 90s and the early 2000s, thousands of people from around the world shunned carbs altogether in the hope of losing weight like their idols.  Such fad diets have somewhat waned over the years, however, there are still many avid followers of the low-carb diet for the sake of healthy eating and weight loss. This controversial diet has caused a stir throughout the world among medical practitioners and researchers, however, it has to be said that the majority of the medical community still are against this kind of diet for the purpose of healthy living. All you need to do is to look around at your local café and see what people have on their plates to prove that many still believe that anything that contains carbohydrates is evil, hence the abundance of leafy salads that lie in front of people. Whether they want to eat such things on a daily basis is completely another story. Of course there are some health benefits that do come with a low-carb diet, but one must note the word “low” as opposed to “no.” There is some medical evidence that those who choose to follow a low-carb diet will lose weight easier than those who go on a low-fat one, however, it’s imperative that the dieter sticks to such diets and changes their lifestyle because as soon as they stop, they’re likely to pile the weight on again which defeats the whole purpose of their healthy eating in the first place.

Low-carb diets also have other health benefits

When people lower their carbohydrate intake and replace some of these carbs with proteins, blood pressure is lowered as are cholesterol levels. However, this only works when a person is following a tailor-made diet plan drawn up by a dietitian which includes a special balance of different food groups. Additionally, in 2007, Holt et al carried out a series of research with levels of insulin secretion and the consumption of carbohydrates. Studies proved that when carbohydrates are paired with other food groups such as proteins and fats, the body’s insulin levels increase which puts the consumer at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life. However, these findings were more common in middle-aged men, most of whom already had weight and other underlying issues. Instead of shunning carbohydrates all together and depriving your body totally, medical practitioners recommend taking a different approach. Researchers suggest that people need to be educated on what carbohydrates actually are and how they work. Carbs provide the body with much needed energy and without carbs we simply wouldn’t be able to function properly. Understanding the different kinds of carbs, in other words the good carbs versus the bad ones, will help you to understand that there are indeed good carbs that need to be consumed. Opting for whole wheat breads, barley, rye and quinoa over fries are always going to be the healthier option and at the same time you’re allowing your body and brain to get all the right amounts of energy that they need while still following a healthy diet.

To say all carbohydrates are bad is a huge generalization

Even when people lower their carb levels, we can still see a lot of obesity in the community. It’s got nothing to do with the lowering of carbs, but instead it’s related to the kinds of carbs that are being consumed. People continue to make unhealthy choices. Processed carbs are the real killers that are increasing the rate of the obesity at extraordinary levels – processed carbs are believed to be the driving force behind overeating and weight gain because they take longer to break down in the body. Processed carbs are anything you can’t find in nature for example, you can’t find a bagel growing on a tree, therefore it’s processed – other things have been added to these carbs to make the food such as preservatives and additives, and next time you read the package of your “whole meal” bread, remember this too has been processed and while it may be slightly healthier, there are better carbs that you could be eating. Instead of cutting out carbs completely, you need to learn how to make smarter choices when it comes to eating them and how to decipher between good carbs versus bad ones. All fruits, vegetables, nuts, tubers and seeds contain unprocessed carbohydrates which will not compromise a person’s health. Cutting these food groups out completely will result in a loss of fibers and essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Many people are tricked into thinking that breakfast cereals are healthy and natural, however, if you were to take a look at their ingredients on the box, you’ll see that there a number of different ingredients with unpronounceable names – a sign that these are indeed highly processed and therefore not a good food choice if you want to follow a healthy eating plan. It is clear that the body does need carbs. All that is needed is a bit of education as to which ones are beneficial to the body and which ones are not. It’s a matter of lifestyle change and making careful food choices and not completely eliminating one food group to fulfill a diet.  

Article Resources:
Agalee Jacob. Examples of processed carbs. 2013. www.livestrong.com/article/508694-examples-of-processed-carbs. archives.cnn.com/2001/HEALTH/diet.fitness/03/20/protein.diet.heart/  query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html

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