Carbohydrates or “carbs” are one of 3 macronutrients that are found in food. These nutrients form a large part of most diets across the world. Most foods are a combination of all three macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fat) in varying amounts. Carbs, in the recent years, have achieved a rather tainted reputation, as they are believed to make you gain weight. Hence, most weight-loss diets recommend that you cut down on the carbs in your diet. But these diets ignore one major aspect of carbs – they’re not all the same. In any kind of food, there are 3 different kinds of carbs that can be found.
Types Of Carbs
Sugar can be found in the form of sucrose, fructose, galactose, and glucose. It can be found naturally in foods like fruits, honey, milk, and vegetables. Sugar is also used as an artificial sweetener to food items and drinks – including sweets, chocolates, biscuits, soft drinks, and baked goods. It’s important to understand that the naturally-occurring sugars are not the problem – the added ones are.1
This carb is made up of a number of sugar units that are bonded together. Starch is mainly found in foods that come from plants. Starch-rich foods include bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta, among the others. Consuming starchy food can provide you with a slow and steady release of energy, thereby keeping you energized throughout the day.
Dietary fibers are a diverse range of compounds found in the cell walls of food that comes from plants. Fiber-rich food options include vegetables, whole grains, wholewheat pasta, fruits, pulses, beans, and lentils.
Simple carbs like sugar are the “bad carbs” you need to avoid. But, complex carbs like starch and fibre are “good carbs” that is essential for the functioning of your body.
Why You Need Carbs In Your Diet
1. Energize You
Carbohydrates are your body’s source of energy. To begin with, the carbs you take in get broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your bloodstream. Your body uses glucose for energy, thereby fueling all of your activities, whether you’re playing football or just taking a stroll. Only when you eat more carbs than required (if you overeat), do they get stored as fat.
2. Reduce Your Risk Of Diseases
Carbohydrates – starch in particular – promote good bowel health and reduce your risk of hypertension, digestive disorders, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Some forms of fiber are also known to reduce bad cholesterol levels in your body.
3. Help Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Consuming carbs can help you reduce your overall calorie intake. This is because carbohydrates contain fewer calories than fat. As starchy foods are a good source of fiber, you can replace fatty and sugary foods with them to form an effective weight loss solution that’s low on calorie intake. High-fiber foods make you feel more satiated after a meal and will keep you from overeating.2
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Carbs
1. You Will Not Get Enough Energy
While it’s quite possible for you to survive without sugar, eliminating the other carbs entirely from your diet can be a very bad idea. As carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, your body will end up using protein and fat stored in your system for energy in their absence.
2. Your digestive system might suffer
Cutting out carbs from your diet also means that you don’t get the required amount of fibers, which is crucial for a healthy digestive system. Lack of fibers in your diet can lead to digestive problems like constipation.
3. You Might Face Nutrition Deficiency
Carbs are also a rich source of nutrients, including calcium, iron, and B vitamins. When you cut down on carbs, your risk of developing a nutrient deficiency is higher. If you replace carbs with fats or proteins, you tend to increase your saturated fat intake, thereby increasing your risk of heart disease.
4. You Might Feel Dizzy And Nauseous
When you’re on a diet that’s devoid of any carbs, you tend to be low on glucose. To make up for the resulting energy shortfall, your body begins to break down stored fat to convert it into usable energy. This process can quite possibly lead to a build-up of ketones in your blood, resulting in ketosis. Ketosis because of a low-carb diet often leads to headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness, and irritability.3
If you’re still singing the praise of low-carb diet is, think again! Truth is, cutting down on carbs will help you lose weight. However, the downside is that you won’t be losing much of actual body fat. The reason you lose weight on a low-carb diet is because your body holds 2.4 grams of water for every gram of carbohydrate consumed. As you cut off the carbs, all your body does is hold less water! This technique of artificial weight loss is the main reason why so many people get tricked into adopting a low-carb diet regime.