Carbs Making a Comeback as Part of a Healthy Diet
by Dr. Victor Marchione
You’ve doubtlessly heard the virtues of a low-carb diet tossed around for years.
But contrary to these beliefs, there are two things you need to know: diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the Atkin’s diet, tend not to have lasting effects and, more importantly, you need carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates contain glucose, one of the essential nutrients your body needs to function. Carbs can be found in foods like bread, pasta, fruit, and starchy vegetables. Bread and pasta are big “offenders” if you’re on a low-carb diet.
Glucose is your body’s main energy source; every tissue and cell in your body, from the brain to your muscles, organs, and central nervous system, need glucose from carbohydrates to function properly. Cutting carbs out of your diet as part of a low-carb diet can seriously affect your health.
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When not in use, glucose from carbohydrates is stored in the liver and muscles. Your body can only store a day-and-a-half’s worth of carbs. That’s why it is important for you to eat foods with carbohydrates in them every day, contrary what a low-carb diet may tell you.
Foods that contain carbohydrates are also often high in fiber, which helps with intestinal health. Being on a low-carb diet can reduce your concentration—not something you want if your job requires your full attention or if you commute to and from work. Despite what you may have heard, carbohydrates actually help you to burn fat more effectively than protein, while also working with protein to repair muscles and stimulate growth.
Now, there are foods that contain “unhealthy” carbohydrates, or some simple carbohydrates. These are processed foods, such as table sugar, sodas, candies, syrups, jams, and jellies. There are, however, simple carbohydrates that are healthy, which are found in fruits, milk, and dairy products.
Complex carbohydrates are the type of carbs you should try to eat plenty of. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Complex carbohydrates can be found in foods such as whole grains, whole wheat bread and pasta, whole grain bread, oatmeal, and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, beans, lentils, and peas. Your diet should include a mix of healthy simple and complex carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates should make up 45%–65% of your diet, or roughly 225–325 grams per day. To find out how many carbohydrates your food contains, look at the packaging and plan your diet according to these guidelines.
Despite what you may have been told, a low-carb diet has a variety of health risks, such as your body producing excessive ketones, which can lead to bad breath, gas, weakness, nausea, and dizziness. A high number of ketones also forces your kidneys to work harder, while causing your body to go into “starvation mode” (meaning it stores more fat). Another unpleasant side effect of a low-carb diet is constipation due to a lack of fiber.
And the weight loss from a low-carb diet is illusory, mostly due to water loss as the body draws glucose from muscles. A protein-rich diet, one of the tent poles of a low-carb diet, can also lead to gout, a severe form of arthritis.
So as you can see, eliminating carbs from your diet can do a lot more harm than good for both your weight loss goals and your overall health.
Sources for Today’s Article:
- Powell, E., “To eat or not to eat, what’s a carbohydrate anyways?” Michigan State University, Extension web site, April 14, 2014; http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/to_eat_or_not_to_eat_whats_a_carbohydrate_anyways.
This article “Carbs Making a Comeback as Part of a Healthy Diet” was originally published on DoctorsHealthPress, visit their site to access their vast database of articles and the latest information in natural health.
Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The Food Doctor newsletter. Dr. Marchione has also served as Principal Investigator in at least a dozen clinical research projects relating to serious ailments such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).