For some of us, the very word ‘carbs’ spells disaster because we assume that the only way to stay in shape is to go heavy on proteins and avoid all carbs. However, there is a thing called ‘Bad Carbs’ and a thing called ‘Good Carbs’; and it is very important that you understand the difference between the two.
Carbs have managed to somehow gain a bad reputation worldwide. But most people do not realize that while some carbs are bad for you, others are actually crucial for you to meet with your fitness goals. Carbohydrates offer you ready fuel to generate the energy your body needs to build, maintain and repair muscle mass.
To make it easier for you to understand the difference between good carbs vs. bad carbs, let me explain them further.
The Ever-going Battle: Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs
Good carbs are complex carbohydrates, while bad carbs are nothing but simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and release a steady stream of fuel to your body for sustained energy levels. They make you feel full faster and for longer and pack a lot of dietary fiber in them as well. On the other hand, bad carbs are easy to digest, offer minimal dietary fiber and are rather high in calories.
This is why bad carbs like white breads, white rice, white pastas, confectionary and bakery items like cakes and donuts etc are best avoided. But on the other hand, good carbs like multigrain breads, oatmeal, brown rice and pasta along with vegetables and fruits are a must-have for a healthy balanced diet.
Secrets of Getting Fit by Choosing Good Carbs Over Bad Carbs
– Bad carbs have a high glycemic index and this is why, not only do they add more pounds to your growing waistline; they also increase your risk to diseases like Diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart diseases. On the other hand, good carbs have a low glycemic index, which is why they help regulate normal blood sugar levels that in turn also control your food cravings.
– According to the Harvard School of Public Health, it is best to add at least one good carbohydrate source to each of your main meals. Start the day with multigrain toast or oatmeal. Lunch and dinner should each have a side of whole wheat bread, pasta or some brown rice, along with vegetables as well for an extra dose of vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients.
– Fruits are a great source of good carbs. Choose to have whole fruit rather than fruit juices for some added fiber as well.
– Beans are not only a good source of protein, but also a source of good carbs.
Be a little adventurous! Only because you want to eat healthy doesn’t mean your food has to be boring. So look for yummy alternatives and choose good carbs that come from different food groups to add variety to your daily meal plans.For example: choose a variety of fruits like apples, pears, bananas, pineapples etc. Similarly, make sure you add a new vegetable to your weekly diet to keep your taste buds stimulated. There is also no dearth of whole grains you can try – brown rice, wheat, oats, bran, and many others, all of which are great sources of complex carbs.
If you want to ensure that you not only choose god carbohydrates but also the right proteins and fats, read my article on Proteins, Carbs & Fats: Are You Making The Right Choice?