Carbs: Friend or Foe
by Rochelle Griffin
Every day people come to me to ask about what they should eat to lose weight. Out of all of the questions, the main ones seem to revolve around a particular category: carbohydrates. Let’s talk carbs, shall we? What to do with carbs? Carbs are good. Carbs are bad. Don’t eat any. Eat a ton. Every day we are barraged with conflicting information about this particular food source. What is the truth? The truth is…are you ready for this?
Moderation should be a word that we all use in EVERY aspect of our life, but I digress as we are supposed to be talking about carbs.
The primary role of carbs is to provide our body with energy. They are the ideal fuel for our body and help maintain the blood glucose level. Our bodies NEED carbs and guess what? Carbohydrate-rich foods are almost exclusively obtained from plant sources. When we deprive ourselves of the necessary nutrients that carbs give us, we lack energy, motivation, and simply don’t feel good overall.
There are two different kinds of carbs: complex and simple. Complex contain starch and fiber. Simple contain simple sugar. The complex carbs are the healthier of the two and preferred by our body. Complex carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains - Wheat, millet, oat bran, brown rice, buckwheat are great options.
- Fruits - Including apricots, oranges, plums, pears, and grapefruits. Yes, fruits also contain simple sugar but it’s simple sugar in it’s natural form. This is ok!
- Vegetables - Just about ALL types of veggies are great.
- Legumes - Think beans of all kinds such as kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, and pinto beans.
It is recommended that we eat 2-5 servings per day of complex carbs. I say as low as 2 for those on a weight loss plan. Remember, 15 grams of carbohydrate equate 1 serving. Because the serving size has increased on many of our foods in the grocery stores and restaurants, it is very important to look at the nutritional info. You may think that whole-wheat bagel is 1 serving, but it could actually be 3! ***Hint: increased serving size is a HUGE piece in the obesity epidemic.
Anyways, personally I am not an advocate for low carb meal plans. I say this from experience. I don’t find that people do well on them for a long period of time, and complex carbs are too important for our body’s health. The fiber in complex carbs helps to prevent obesity, colon cancer, constipation, heart disease, and diabetes. As a RN, I’ve taken care of way to many people who have suffered from all of these ailments.
So, do you need to be afraid of carbs? Yes and no. Be afraid, be VERY afraid, of the unhealthy carbs: donuts, cakes, cookies, sugar cereals. These carbs have artificial, simple sugars in them that don’t do a thing for our bodies other than to cause weight gain. The nutritional value is nearly zilch regardless of what the box says. Receive with open arms the healthy ones: 100% whole-wheat anything, green veggies, potatoes (yes, I said it,) nuts. If you find yourself craving the unhealthy ones, it’s time to sit down and look at your diet in general. You are lacking something. If you aren’t sure what to do with your diet, contact me. Let me help! Now go eat an apple!
A Toast to Your Health,
Rochelle Griffin is Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience who has transitioned her love for fitness, health, & freedom into a 6-figure company that now helps others live the life of their dreams.
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