Even though carbohydrates have a bad reputation, you should know that there are some healthy carbs you shouldn't shy away from. Yes, some are associated with weight gain, bad eating and a generally unhealthy lifestyle. But the truth is, not all carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact, you need carbohydrates to stay at your peak health.
Here are a few reasons you should stop feeling guilty about eating more carbs:
1. Your brain works better when you eat more carbs. One research group found people did worse in critical thinking and memory skill tests when they drastically reduced the amount of carbs they ate1. The math is simple: your brain runs on glucose, and glucose comes from carbs2.
2. Carbs can help you shed pounds. That might seem hard to believe, but it’s true! High quality carbs are high in fiber3. Fiber slows down how quickly your body absorbs food, particularly sugar. One study found that eating three servings of whole grains helped people have 2.4% less overall body fat than people who didn’t eat as many whole grains4.
3. You literally can’t live without them. The human body runs on glucose5, which is largely created out of the carbohydrates we eat. Not enough glucose in our body means underperforming cells which equals mental fogginess and lack of energy.
4. Your heart will thank you. Carbohydrates rich in soluble fiber can lower your bad cholesterol by up to 5%6. In fact, eating whole grains in general helped people have lower bad cholesterol but higher good cholesterol.
5. Carbs protect against cancer. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are full of cancer-fighting properties. Polyphenols, sulforaphane, carotenoids and fiber are just a few of the nutrients keeping you healthy7! 6. You’ll be a happier person. In a study performed by the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers discovered people who ate extremely low carb diets (20-40 grams a day) were far more likely to have anxiety and depression8. The tryptophan in carbs helps your body produce seratonin, which in turn helps you be in a better mood.9 7. You can lower your blood sugar eating carbs. All that fiber in high-quality carbohydrates? It can actually help lower your blood sugar levels10. Known as resistant starch foods, they act like soluble fiber and are resistant to digestion11. One study found eating resistant starch foods at one meal caused people to eat 10% less calories the following day12.
In general, we’ve assumed all carbs are highly processed and refined. This isn’t the case! There are plenty of health benefits that go along with eating more carbs, as long as they’re healthy carbs. What qualifies as a healthy carb? Here are the best:
• Low-fat dairy
• Minimally processed whole grains
With so many positives, there’s no reason to deprive yourself from eating more carbs! Go ahead and put them back on the menu and enjoy the benefits that eating healthy carbs can give.
1. Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.: 6 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs. http://www.eatingwell.com
2. Annie Daly: 7 Reasons You NEED to Eat Carbs (August 21, 2014). http://www.womenshealthmag.com
3. 6 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs. http://www.eatingwell.com
4. 6 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs. http://www.eatingwell.com
5. 6 Reasons to Stop Cutting Carbs. https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
6. 6 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs. http://www.eatingwell.com
7. 6 Reasons to Stop Cutting Carbs. https://leaf.nutrisystem.com
8. 6 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs. http://www.eatingwell.com
9. Annie Daly: 7 Reasons You NEED to Eat Carbs (August 21, 2014). http://www.womenshealthmag.com
10. 8 Reasons Why Carbs Help You Lose Weight. http://www.health.com
11. Kris Gunnars, BSc: Resistant Starch 101 – Everything You Need to Know. (May 2016) https://authoritynutrition.com
12. 8 Reasons Why Carbs Help You Lose Weight. http://www.health.com