🥑 “Are you eating the right Carbohydrates?” Find out now…
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel. Food high in carbohydrates are important as part of a healthy diet as dietary carbohydrate is broken down into compounds that are stored as glycogen in your muscle and liver. Glycogen is the primary fuel your body uses during physical activity, serving as a constant source of energy, and helping to support bodily functions.
The three main types of carbohydrates are: starches, fiber, and sugars. Starches are often referred to as complex carbohydrates and they are found in grains, beans, legumes, as well as starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and corn. Sugars, also known as simple carbohydrates, spike insulin levels and which can lead to weight gain. You should avoid processed foods such as syrups, sugary drinks, chocolate, and baked goods. Instead, opt for foods that contain natural sugars such as fruits and vegetables. The third type of carbohydrates is fiber. healthy carbohydrates will contain fiber which helps to regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. Studies support that fiber helps to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, and constipation.
What carbohydrates should I eat?
Not all carbohydrates are treated equally and the like other macronutrients, the quality of the sources of carbohydrates are important. You should look to consume unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods, such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. The healthy grains include brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, steel cut oats, quinoa, rye, and barley. These foods promote good health by also including various vitamins and minerals.
On the avoid list are carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries and baked goods, soda, or other highly processed or refined foods. These types of foods have been shown to contribute to weight gain and promote diabetes and heart disease.
How much should you consume?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (8th edition) suggest that most adults should aim to consume anywhere between 45 to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates. This equates to between 225 to grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis, following a 2000-calorie diet.
Many people are confused about carbohydrates thinking that carbohydrates are the enemy, which is not the case. It is much more important to consume carbohydrates from healthy foods than to follow a strict diet limiting or counting the number of grams of carbohydrates consumed. With that being said, carbohydrates are the one micronutrient that can be manipulated the most. If your goal is weight loss, you will want to cut back on your carbohydrate consumption and schedule it around your physical activities. You should consume carbohydrates prior to exercise to help fuel your workout and following exercise, to help replenish your glycogen levels. If your goal is to gain muscle, it is recommended that you consume 1.5 to 3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
Ultimately, you should avoid highly processed or refined foods and try to consume whole, natural foods. To help you look and feel your best you should choose nutrient-dense, healthy carbohydrates.
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Written and Produced:
EP Health Wellness Team
The Nutrition Source (n.d) “Fiber”. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
 Buckley, D. (2015). Stronger than Yesterday: Diet and Exercise Tips for Building Muscle. Food Insight, 9.