Modern diet trends often focus disproportionately on carbohydrates and, in particular, eating less of them. Although many associate a carb-heavy diet with weight gain, carbohydrates are an important part of maintaining overall health. New research indicates that it is quality over quantity that matters when considering our carb intake. Some types of carbohydrates, like starches and fibers, provide health benefits that can outweigh their potential downfalls.
What Are Carbs?
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are three main types of carbs: starches, sugars, and fibers. At their most basic level, carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules. Starches and fibers are formed from multiple sugar molecules linked together.
Our bodies break up sugars and starches into glucose, the fuel that gives our bodies energy quickly and efficiently. Fibers, on the other hand, cannot be broken down by our bodies, and instead pass through the intestines, improving digestive health.
Carbs in My Diet
While our bodies need carbohydrates to function properly, many of us are eating too much of the wrong kinds. In general, carbs can be broken up into “good carbs” and “bad carbs” — with “good carbs” being naturally-occuring, unprocessed, and higher in fiber. These carbs take longer for the body to metabolize, which prevents weight gain, and often come along with a host of other important vitamins and nutrients. “Good carbs” include foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
“Bad carbs” are processed or added, and are digested by the body very quickly. This results in a spike in blood pressure which causes our bodies to hold onto fat. Most of the healthy nutrients and vitamins in “bad carbs” have also been removed in the processing of these types of foods. Examples include some cereals, cookies and other bakery items made with white flour, and foods with added sugars.
While being conscious of our carbohydrate intake is important, depriving our bodies of carbs altogether can be harmful to overall health. To make the most of your dynamic, personalized Shred workouts, be sure to maintain a balanced diet, which includes healthy carbs.