Carbohydrates have been demonized over the past few years. The low-carb lifestyle has gained an immense amount of popularity, and many people swear by it. After all, there are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids, but no essential carbs. So the question is; are carbohydrates bad?
Itís true that the body can function without the use of certain carbohydrates, but does that mean they are all bad for you? My answer is no. First, we need to understand that there are three different categories of carbohydrates; sugars, starches and fiber. There are even different categories of these three, but we wonít get into that in this article.
Fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, and it is also present in some starchy carbohydrate sources. Fiber adds bulk to meals, making us feel fuller and more satisfied, and allowing us to eat less. Fiber aids in proper digestive health and they are a negligible source of calories. What this means is that when a fiber is digested, it counteracts other carb sources in terms of blood sugar spiking, almost as if the sugar/starch were not even there. Fiber is definitely not a carb that can be done without, and most people need to eat more of it.
Starches come from corn, potatoes and other vegetable sources. Starchy carbohydrates burn slowly (some more than others) allowing a steadier output of insulin. Starch carbohydrates provide a longer lasting energy source, and are ideal for gaining quality weight when used properly. Eliminating starches from the diet can result in low energy, rapid weight loss and energy/mood swings. One should evaluate these aspects before totally quitting eating starches.
Sugars are the bad-boys of the carb scene. Excess sugar causes a dramatic increase in blood sugar levels, which can provide a quick energy boost, but this wears off quickly, leaving a person more tired than before. Sugar often leads to fat gain, water retention and in really bad cases, diabetes. Sugars from fruits are better than that of candies and other sweets, as it is a natural sugar and burns more slowly than table sugar. No one ever gets fat from eating too many fruits.
So to answer the question; are carbs bad? The answer is; they can be. One must pay attention to their carbohydrate sources, and not to mention their overall calorie intake. While carbs may have gotten a bad name, they do provide a multitude of benefits, and itís the people that donít pay attention to what theyíre eating that make it worse on themselves.