There is a common public misconception about carbs that supports the notion they are fat-packed products. This general idea is underpinned by the thinking that all carbs possess the same categorical features, but, science has proven that this is not the truth. In order to understand the role that carbs play in one’s diet and, subsequently, strike them from the misinformed theory that they cause major weight gain, we need to start at the simple carbohydrate foundations.
Carbs are typically separated into two categories, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are refined and impure, products that generally pack a sugary punch for a quick burst of energy. Sodas, baked products, and fruit juice concentrate are some examples of simple carbs that should generally be avoided for their detrimental impact on physical health. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are beneficial to the body as they provide sustained energy. They are high in fiber and digest slowly, monitoring our blood sugar levels and promoting proper bowel functioning. Complex carbs found in fruits, nuts, beans, and vegetables, do not cause weight gain when consumed in a balanced diet but rather fuel us with the energy required to support our weight loss habits such as going to the gym.
With a holistic understanding of carbs, the different types, and the function they serve in the body, we can now look into the qualities of carbs that make them a crucial component to a balanced diet. The emphasis here is on the word balanced, so be sure to consider your dietary intake and how much of each food group you are consuming. Without further ado, let us take a look at the reasons carbs are important for your diet:
There is scientific research published that suggests carbs can bolster individuals’ moods. A study released in the ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’ was designed to showcase whether or not complex carbs could hinder feelings of depression and anger in test subjects. Those part of the study that we administered an underwhelming quantity of carbs as opposed to those on a strict low-fat, high-carb diet were more likely to suffer from overwhelming feelings of anxiety as well as experience mood swings. The reasoning behind these results is that researchers believe carbs support the production of serotonin in the body, a mood-boosting bodily chemical.
People have long attributed carbs to promoting weight gain, but this is generally because of the fact that the public couples complex carbs with unhealthy simple carbs. Consuming a balanced diet including complex carbs can actually have the opposite effect, as spotlighted by numerous scientific studies. ‘Slow-release’ complex carbohydrates support sustained energy, control blood sugar spikes, and maintain optimal insulin levels. Insulin plays a pivotal role in the body’s fat storage and lower levels of insulin are said to support fat burning. In saying so, consuming complex carbs in moderation, especially before exercising, can blast fat.
The common thinking is that carbs weaken one’s memory and this is true up to a point. Refined carbs, such as sugar, are known to negatively impact the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory. Sugar has a terrible impact on the body and should be avoided at all costs. However, complex carbs do not work in the same way. Consuming a low quantity of calories through complex carbs has been shown to improve visuospatial memory and this could be attributed to their ability to support sustained energy and effective bodily functions.
Reduced weight loss equals a healthier heart and complex carbs have been known to support weight-reducing exercise. Furthermore, the acquisition of soluble-fiber through the consumption of complex carbs is directly linked to the reduction in the body’s ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Grains have also been said to increase the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in the body. As cholesterol plays a crucial part in cardiovascular health, these effects of complex carbs are extremely beneficial.
There is a lot of information out there that tells us to steer clear from the carb altogether, but, more and more scientific research is popping up to prove that complex carbs are beneficial to the body. In saying so, we recommend taking a close look at your diet and figuring out how best to include a moderate intake of complex carbs.