If you have been avoiding eating carbs lately, you are definitely not alone. It seems like everyone these days is or has been on very low carb diets, such as the popular ketogenic diet. So, it is understandable why you would rethink your carb intake. But should you really adopt a low-carb or no-carb diet?
What Exactly Are Carbohydrates and Do You Need Them?
Carbs are among the primary types or macronutrients and the most vital sources of energy for fueling your body. Whenever you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, your body breaks them down and converts them into glucose. Glucose is a crucial fuel that constantly circulates in the blood for fueling your brain.
What you need to keep in mind, however, is that you do not consume carbohydrates alone—you consume food. This is why many people get confused because they think that carbs are indicative of a specific type of food.
In reality, all plants contain carbs and these foods—vegetables, legumes, fruits whole grains, nuts, seeds and dairy—also contain vital nutrients such as fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Because carbs can be found in all plant foods, you cannot possibly get all the vital nutrients they offer without also consuming the carbohydrates.
But How Much Carbohydrate Do You Need?
According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the average adult should get 45% to 65% of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates.
This means that if you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, approximately 900 to 1,330 of your daily caloric intake must come from carbohydrates. A gram of carb contains 4 calories so you should aim to consume 225 grams to 325 grams of carbohydrates daily.
The Quality of Carbohydrates Is Crucial
Foods that have high carb content are a vital part of any balanced diet. Carbs provide glucose to the body that will be converted to energy to be utilized for supporting physical activity and bodily functions.
When taking up nutrition counseling at a weight loss clinic, like MD Diet in Salt Lake City, one of the most crucial things you will learn about carbs is that quality is immensely vital. Some foods rich in carbs are better than other high-carb foods.
The healthiest carb sources are minimally processed or unprocessed foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans and fruits because these provide fiber, minerals, vitamins and various phytonutrients. On the other hand, unhealthier carb sources include sodas, pastries, white bread and refined or highly processed food items.
They contain carbs that are easily digested and might promote heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and other health problems. Also, when consuming grains, you might want to opt for whole grains rather than refined. Then, get the low-fat versions of your favorite milk, cheese and other dairy products.
The main takeaway here is that your body needs carbs to be able to function properly. It is an important macronutrient that your body needs as fuel for energy. Just remember to stick to healthy carb sources, avoid the unhealthier ones and eat in moderation.