High Carbs, Low Carbs, No Carbs, Treat All Carbs Equal, Paleo, Keto and the list goes on and on and on and on and on… but really it keeps going on forever. No wonder no one ever knows what the heck to eat and what kind of diet to follow because there are just so many excellent arguments as to why each one of the diets above could be perfect for you.
I certainly do not have the answer for what is best for you, because simply put – I don’t know you. It is important to meet with a professional and speak directly with them about your goals, needs and what type of body you have.
What I can share with you, is that it really is never a good idea to eat NO CARBS. It really isn’t. Your brain needs carbs to function. I repeat your brain NEEDS CARBS TO FUNCTION!
And this is why –
“Why is this? Carbohydrates are a very important macronutrient. They are our body’s preferred source of fuel meaning that they get used first (before protein, fat, and alcohol). Current guidelines suggest that 45-60% of your daily diet should be made up of carbohydrates. Here’s why.
+ Carbohydrates are the main macronutrient that give us the most energy for optimal functioning of the body.
Carbohydrates help to supply the body with a constant stream of glucose. Glucose is important to sustain blood sugar levels. People on very low carbohydrate diets often notice blood sugar level dips, which can lead to poor brain functioning such as tiring, getting easily distracted and having difficulty concentrating.
+ Carbohydrates provide nutrients to support the good bacteria (microflora) in our digestive system.
Our microflora needs a healthy balance of all our macronutrients to be happy, healthy and function optimally. A very low carbohydrate (and fiber) diet can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. Low carbohydrate diets most often advocate high protein and fat to compensate, which can be particularly problematic and can lead to dysbiosis, endotoxemia, and severe health problems. Consuming adequate low GI carbohydrates that are fibre-rich supports digestion and helps to keep bowel movements regular.
+ Carbohydrates support a happy mood
There is a strong connection between carbohydrates and mood. Eating enough low GI, nutrient dense carbohydrates helps to support the production of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, our happy hormone!
+ Carbohydrates protect our muscles
The body wants carbohydrates as a source when exercising as it’s quickly released and gives us the most energy. When we don’t have enough carbohydrates as fuel, our body starts to break down muscle glycogen stores and we can fatigue very quickly. Ensure you are supporting muscle health and workout longevity by including good quality carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals.
Now before you go carb crazy (you knew there was a catch, right?) it’s important to know that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Most of us are up to speed on low GI carbs—good quality options such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet and sprouted or sourdough breads that are nutrient dense and supply a slow sustained release of glucose keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel. Then, there are our high GI carbs, which are often refined with added sugar, refined starch and added fats with little nutritional value—think white potatoes, white bread, soft drinks, pastries, and cakes. High GI carbs give you a quick rush of glucose, which leads to a spike in blood glucose followed by a crash (giving you those roller coaster energy levels).
Opt for a mix of high fiber, water-dense, nutrient-rich, low-energy carbohydrates such as seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as low GI whole grain cereals like barley, buckwheat, bulgar, oats, quinoa, rye and wild rice.”
What type of ‘diet’ do you like to follow? What are some of your guidelines? Sound off in the comments below!