I guarantee you’ve been told through fad diets, “nutrition programs”, or multi-level marketing scam coaches that carbs are bad. That you must restrict or even eliminate them to lose weight and get healthy. This is so WRONG.
Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for our bodies. Read that again slowly. And maybe again.
Now I didn’t tell you to go eat a dozen doughnuts full of refined sugar and starches. But eating oatmeal, quinoa, rice, root vegetables, squash, potatoes, beans, legumes, and *gasp* even unrefined pasta or bread, is important. And let me make it VERY clear: FRUITS AND VEGGIES ARE NOT BAD CARBS! So please, stop with that nonsense.
Read on to see just how important carbs really are:
- our brain needs glucose (breakdown of carbs) for energy and function, ie brain fog
- complex carbohydrates are full of fiber and resistant starches to fuel your gut microbiome–which in turn improves digestion, absorption of nutrients, immune support, and mood/mental disorders
- carbs are essential to produce serotonin–your “feel good” neurotransmitter
- too little carbohydrate intake can increase your stress hormone, cortisol
- we need carbs to help regulate our blood sugar to avoid the highs and lows
- and if you’re an athlete, pregnant/nursing, or simply working out, the demand for carbohydrates increases
It’s all about balance. The best thing to do is to be sure you are “giving your carb a buddy” as they say. Meaning, pair your complex carbohydrates with adequate amounts of protein, and you’ll avoid the crash that comes with consuming too many. Want a brownie or scoop of ice cream? Perfectly fine in moderation! Just be sure you’ve consumed adequate amounts of protein beforehand to support the load of sugar and processed carbs. The beautiful thing is it’s not restrictive, it is about having the right balance.
Fill your plate with adequate protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates and you will be just fine. Humans need about 1-1.25 grams of protein/pound of lean body weight. Essentially, what you weigh is the amount of protein you need. I’m willing to bet you’re not consuming enough.
And for carbohydrates? About 5-7 grams/kilogram of body weight for someone who performs moderate or high intensity exercise. Do the math. A 150 pound person needs around 340 grams minimum of carbohydrates per day!
So, go eat. Just make it nutrient dense, whole foods. Cut out the packaged garbage.