With Keto and low carb diets on the rise, it’s easy to understand why carbohydrates have been demonised.
But carbohydrates are part of the three essential macronutrients out bodies need to produce energy, along with protein and healthy fats.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs
include sugars such as sugar, glucose, honey and agave.
Complex carbs include whole fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole-grains and whole wheat products and generally the ideal type of carb we need to consume for sustained energy.
However, overconsumption of simple carbs can lead to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
But adding complex carbs to our diet is essential for our health. A paper in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted that the fibre found in wholegrains helps keep chronic diseases at bay.
Good examples of whole-grains include oats, brown rice, quinoa and barley. The paper also explains that legumes provide plenty of nutrients as well as fibre and protein.
Low GI carbs such as sweet potato and squash are also great nutrient dense carbs to add to the diet.
Both contain powerful carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin as well as potassium, fibre and vitamin C.
Carbohydrates also help preserve muscle and consuming them helps reduce muscle breakdown and provide glucose for the brain.
They also promote digestive health thanks to their high content of soluble fibre which help improve the frequency and ease of bowel movements.
Furthermore, studies show that soluble fibre can also protect against digestive tract diseases.
So, what about the benefits of ketosis and going low carb? Ketosis happens when the body produces ketones for energy. Your body creates them when there aren’t carbs available for the production of energy.
For this to happen you need to eat less than 50grams of carbs a day and although it can be restrictive in what can be eaten, many people enjoy the benefits of weight loss a keto diet can provide.
That said, with such a low carb intake some people can suffer from brain fog and constipation due the lack of carbs in the body.
Furthermore, some studies show that following a low carb diet may not be the best route for long term weight management and not the most effective.
With that in mind, demonising carbs or following a restrictive low carb diet may not be the best path to follow in terms of your health and wellbeing.