The Truth About Carbs
Not an hour goes by here at GourmetFuel where a customer doesn’t ask us if they should go carb-free, so we thought it would be useful to clear up any confusion surrounding the Mysterious Macro that is a Carbohydrate and learn the truth about carbs…
Dr. Atkins, who had the philosophy that ‘carbs are bad’ has everyone shaking in their boots as soon as they see a carb on their plate. As a result, this has left so many people confused about carbs and their role in weight loss, and who can blame them.
Let’s get the real truth about carbs straight first…..
- Not all carbs were created equal. They are split into three categories: sugar, starch, and fibre.
- It is practically impossible to eat a ‘zero carb’ or carb-free diet. In short, most foods will contain trace amounts of carbohydrate and even the most extreme ketogenic diet allows for some carbs.
How Do Our Bodies Use Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are our bodies’ main source of energy in a healthy, balanced diet. Firstly, they’re broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your blood. Secondly, the glucose then enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin. Finally, glucose is used by your body for energy, fuelling your activities, whether that’s going for a run or simply breathing.
Fibre is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. It can promote good bowel health, reduce the risk of constipation, and some forms of fibre have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. The recommended amount of fibre to be consumed depends on the calories consumed, but the generally accepted figure is 25-30g per day. This may seem like a lot but our Falafel Salad Wrap with Taco Sauce has 10g of fibre in one wrap! You’re over a third of the way there after just one meal.
Carbohydrate contains fewer calories gram for gram than fat; 4kcal per gram for carbs and 9kcal per gram for fat. Also, starchy foods like brown rice and wholemeal pasta, can be a good source of fibre, and can be a useful part of maintaining a healthy weight.
Sources of Carbs – The Truth about Carbs
Vegetables: Vegetables are packed with fibre, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. They provide us with essential vitamins and minerals needed for the body to strive. It is best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
Whole fruits: Although fruit is higher in carbs (fructose) than most vegetables, it is also packed with micronutrition and fibre. For example, fruits like raspberries, avocados, and apples are high in magnesium, vitamin C, and various powerful antioxidants.
Legumes: Beans, peas, and lentils have upwards of 6g of dietary fiber in a 100g serving and are especially high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber bulks stool and decreases transit time through the colon, thereby preventing constipation.
Whole grains: Make sure to choose grains that are whole: has the bran (the nutritious outer layer), the germ (the seed’s nutrient-rich embryo) and the endosperm (the germ’s food supply, which is high in starchy carbs), for example, oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc. They’re typically high in iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, B vitamins and dietary fibre.
Tubers: With a lower glycemic index than the white spud, sweet potatoes have long been a go-to carbohydrate source. For a while, white potatoes were blacklisted due to the misconception that because they high in carbs that they will make you gain weight. We all need the energy to get through the day and potatoes provide us with that energy as well as a healthy dose of fibre.
How We Can Help
Still haven’t convinced you that cutting out the carbs is perhaps not the best idea? Then why not consider Carb Cycling? Get in touch with our Nutritionists to discuss if a Carb Cycling plan is best for you. Our team of registered nutritionists will go through your present diet and lifestyle, identify strengths and weaknesses so that together you can design a plan to help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight.
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Business Development Manager
Annie is our Business Development Manager here at GourmetFuel. Annie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Innovation at the Technology University of Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked for a successful start-up company based in New York City where she gained valuable experience in product development, food safety, and allergen management and control. Her areas of interest are food business sustainability, health promotion, and nutrition research.
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