As a nation – we LOVE to demonise certain foods and food groups! Over the past few decades, there’s been a trend for ‘cutting carbs’ fuelled by diets such as Atkins, Keto, Dukan to name a few, as well as phrases such as ‘no carbs before marbs!’ or ‘carbs make you fat’.
Many of these phrases and diets have confused people with the importance of carbohydrates, making them out to be ‘bad’ or a driver of weight gain. But in fact, no food is inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – it depends on the portion and frequency in which we eat them (+ of course how we cook them and what we add to them!)
Carbs also contain the SAME amount of calories per gram as protein (4 kcal/g), in comparison to 9 kcal/g for fats!
1️⃣ Energy – Carbs are the body’s primary source of energy. When we consume them, our body breaks them down into glucose which is then transported into the bloodstream to our organs that require it. It can also be stored as glycogen in the liver and used when our body needs it – e.g. for movement!
2️⃣ Cognitive Functioning – Our brain requires approx. 120g of glucose a day to support optimal mental performance – including attention, memory and learning. A diet deficient in carbohydrates may cause fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and headaches.
3️⃣ Calorie intake – Carbohydrates (including grains, potatoes, fruit, dairy, starchy veg and some protein foods such as beans) tend to make up around half of an average adult’s calorie intake; if this is not met, there may be a depletion of energy to support weight management, our brain and other organs in the body.
4️⃣ Spare protein and fats for their uses! – Consuming enough carbohydrates makes sure our body does not resort to using (too much) protein or fats instead, which are needed for bodily functions such as growth, repair and nutrient absorption.
5️⃣ Fibre – Fibre from complex carb sources such as whole grains, fruits and veg are key for a healthy digestive system and supporting risk reduction of some diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
🤔 What are your fave carbs?!