Most of the people when deciding to start a healthy lifestyle, the first thing they do is start a diet, basing it especially on the elimination of carbohydrates. However, most ignore that although it is true that many foods, such as those that are made with refined white flour, sabotage all efforts made to lose weight, not all carbohydrates can be included in this.
Studies show that the ideal is not to consume carbohydrates that are not healthy, that is, those like wheat and sugars. Low carbohydrate diets are not only about weight loss, they are also ideal for improving health.
What are carbohydrates?
To better understand what their function is and why they may be necessary, we must know what they are about. Carbohydrates are molecules considered within nutrition as a protein and fat macronutrient. They can be divided into 3 main classes:
- Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which are eventually broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
- Sugars: Sweet short-chain carbohydrates found in food. Examples are fructose, glucose, galactose, and sucrose.
- Fiber: Believe it or not, our body is not able to digest fiber, for this reason, it is considered an ally in weight loss since it helps to “cover” other foods so that they are not absorbed by the body.
The carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy as to the decompose become glucose, which is subsequently used as energy. Another of their advantages is that they can also be stored, thus increasing their life span to have energy available at any time.
How many carbohydrates should be consumed?
Achieving optimal carbohydrate intake varies from person to person, which may be low for some may not be for others. It all depends on the age, sex and of course the body composition of each individual, as well as the levels of physical activity that are had during the day.
People who are physically active and have a considerable amount of muscle mass are better tolerant of a somewhat high amount of carbohydrates. Metabolic health is also a very important factor, in the case of people who have a metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, the rules are different.
- A carbohydrate intake that can be considered moderate is around 100 – 150 grams per day.
- An ideal consumption to lose weight without much effort would be about 50 – 100 grams per day.
Consequences of eliminating carbohydrates from the diet
Eliminating carbohydrates completely has certain consequences, since not only many foods that contain starch are eliminated, but also grains, vegetables and fruits that help reduce compulsive attacks of hunger and anxiety.
It also brings other problems that can be harmful to health such as:
- Water weight is lost: when carbohydrate consumption is drastically reduced, a fairly rapid weight loss is noticed, however it is not fat that is being lost, but water.
- You begin to feel discomfort: being a primary source of energy for the brain, its elimination leads to certain conditions such as bad breath, fatigue, constant dizziness, nausea and insomnia.
- Intestinal transit problems: most whole grains are those that provide fiber to the body, by eliminating carbohydrates the digestive system is much slower, increasing the risk of having chronic diseases, it can also be a reason for the accumulation of fat in the body.
What carbohydrates are healthy?
All foods that are rich in fiber help the feeling of satiety to last longer, these have beneficial results for the body, especially when looking to lose weight. The best carbohydrates are:
- Oatmeal: it is high in fiber, dissolves slowly after eating it, prolongs energy during the day.
- Bulgur Wheat: Even though it’s a bit cumbersome to prepare, its high-fiber grains are a great way to burn fat.
- Barley:1/2 cup of cooked barley can provide us with: 97 calories, 22 g of carbohydrates, and 3 g of fiber. According to studies, barley can reduce hunger by raising blood sugar levels more slowly than, for example, a sugary food, helping you avoid the sugar spike and sudden hunger attack.
- Beans: 1/2 cup of black beans can contain: 109 calories, 20 g of carbohydrates, and 8 g of fiber. The amounts of fiber present in beans, such as iron and protein make it an incredible choice for the diet.
- Quinoa: It is a complete protein, containing the nine essential amino acids that your body needs to build lean mass, burn calories and reduce the saturated fats that are often found in animal proteins. They are an ideal lunch option and can supplant meat, no problem.