We’re not bluffing. You heard us right, healthy carbs do exist! Although, diet culture may have given carbs a super bad reputation to the extent that people now consider it a cuss word. There are healthy carbs out there and you don’t need to keep a safe distance from them. Before we move on to explain what healthy carbs really means, let’s understand a little more about why people keep swiping left on carbs.
Why Are All Carbs Not Good Carbs?
In its entirety, carbs are substances of sugar, starches and fiber found in some of our favorite foods. Carbs are officially termed as ‘macronutrients’ and are a great way for us to source glucose (aka energy) and keep our bodies up and running. Our bodies don’t really produce macronutrients, so we can only obtain it by consuming it via carbs, protein or fats in our diet. This is the phenomenon which makes carbs an MVP of our diets (of sorts!). But little did you know that this player also has a dark side – and that is sugar!
Commercial fast food advertisements are able to dress up this dark side as tasty, drool worthy and attractive. This is also what spikes up your appetite for ‘refined carbs’ like cakes, cookies, donuts, muffins, candy, chips, pretzels, french fries and pizza. And well, it’s pretty easy to not realize you’ve overeaten these carbs to the point you’re not able to move. Remember that feeling of being in a food coma? Even though these simple carbs provide us solace during rough times – like when you burned a dish you tried to make, they are actually the ones to avoid. Mainly because of these reasons.
- It increases your glucose levels and forces your body to produce insulin.
- Doesn’t really keep you full and drives you to overeat.
- Refined carbs are also much lower in minerals, vitamins or fiber.
You may want to fight off the urge to have these carbs now that you know that it’s simply unhealthy and damaging to your body. And we’re here to tell you that you can start doing that by not keeping the pizza guy’s number on speed dial. Like we said earlier, there are healthy carbs that outdo themselves in comparison to the refined carbs we mentioned. When it comes to carbs, you want something that provides you steady energy and is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Refined carbs have a high glycemic index, meaning they quickly digest in our system. And in other words, this means you’re consuming a shot of glucose that’s spiked directly in your blood flow. Hence, it’s best to first reduce and then slowly replace refined carbs with the good side – Complex carbs!
The Good Guy – Complex Carbs
Complex carbs are wrapped up with all the good stuff missing in refined carbs. It’s full of nutrients, higher in fiber and also digests slowly. This makes complex carbs the better choice. You have to know that even complex carbs break down into glucose, but it’s just a more healthier option for energy, since it digests way slowly. You’ll most likely find your complex carbs in a farmer’s market instead of a fast food chain joint. And this should help you figure the types of food we are hinting at. Here is a list of other healthy carbs you should be picking for your diet from time to time.
1. Fresh Fruits
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but yes, fruits that are the easiest carb to eat on-the-go. And you can’t really go wrong with it, since all you have to do is slice it up, take a bite and it can crush your hunger in an instance. Fruits do have sugar in them (known as fructose) but this is the more sophisticated sugar that gets the green light to be consumed in the ever changing diet culture. However, do note that the amount of fructose in fruit juices increases dramatically. So it’s best to consume fruits in their natural state.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, minerals, vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are also a great wingman for those looking to lose weight. If you’ve always been looking for a replacement for the chips you binge on, sweet potato could be the one. No, you’re not really cheating on chips, so don’t beat yourself up over this. It is easy to elevate your protein filled dishes with this carb, and it ultimately satisfies your cravings for chips.
3. Pulses (Beans And Lentils)
Kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils, although high in carbohydrates, are great sources of protein and fiber. They also keep you full for longer and stops you from making unnecessary trips to the kitchen to find something to snack on. You also won’t have a lot of trouble adding them to a wide variety of dishes.
Oats, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Beetroots, Peas and Corn are other healthy carbs that you can try to add to your daily meals.
Key Takeaway: Don’t always choose takeaway food and push yourself to go for 100% whole foods that aren’t processed.
Also Read: Busting Food Myths
It’s time to put up a fight with yourself against the unhealthy images of refined carbs. While you’re at it, start taking some classic colorful pictures of a bowl of fruits, healthy grains and home cooked meals. Cut carbs some slack since they aren’t all bad. They are a source of fuel for your body and brain, and you need a sufficient amount of it to think and even sleep well. By replacing unhealthy carbs with complex ones, you can have a more colorful and healthy meal at the table.