Every time someone is going on a diet, we most likely hear that they are going to stop eating carbs, like on the Atkins diet. A “zero carb diet” is actually really hard to achieve and not very sustainable because it’s terrible for our bodies!
The main nutrient and source of energy that our bodies need comes from carbohydrates, which are organic compounds made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Before protein, fat, and alcohol, carbohydrates give our bodies the most energy. The Guideline Daily Amounts even states that about 45-60% of our energy intake should actually come from carbohydrates.
Along with being the number one source of energy, carbohydrates are also a part of many proteins and fats, such as lipids, that our bodies need to preform bodily functions. The good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest food need carbs for nutrients as well. Lastly, carbohydrates protect our muscles. If we don’t eat carbs, proteins from our muscles will be used for energy. This basically means that our bodies would be eating their own muscles!
It is one thing to cut out carbs as a whole, but another thing to cut our refined carbs. These are the worst type of carbohydrates for your body. Refined grains are carbohydrates that have been completely processed, extracting all fibers, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the grain. They are digested so quickly that it can lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Refined carbohydrates include, white bread, white rice, and pasta. These carbohydrates should definitely be cut from one’s diet, since they provide no nutrients whatsoever.
On the other hand, whole grains should not be cut from anyone’s diet! Whole grain carbohydrates are not processed, and include all the nutritious parts of the grain, such as the germ, endosperm, and bran. These parts make the grain much healthier, providing more protein, fiber, and many important minerals and vitamins that our bodies need.
Some whole carbohydrates include whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole oats, and quinoa.
Next time you find yourself thinking of going on the Atkins Diet, remember that carbohydrates are important for normal health. To be more health conscious, make sure you take in whole grain carbohydrates rather than refined carbohydrates. This will help you fuel your body properly by getting the nutrients you need!