If you’re thinking about going on to a low carb diet or have just started one already, then the word you’ll have seen and heard most of all is carb. Chances are everywhere you’ll turn you’ll see this word and it will generally be given a negative spin. But, the fact is that your body needs some carbs. Carbohydrate foods play an important part in the way that your body works and the energy it can produce. Instead of believing that all carbs are to be avoided, it might be easier for you to simply split them up into good carbs and bad carbs.
Not all carbohydrate foods are the same. Some are downright unhealthy and shouldn’t really be stuff you eat…except maybe on a very occasional basis. These are the bad carbs. Eat too many bad carbs even on a low carb diet and the chances are your body will end up converting some of them to fat.
Other carbs (you guessed it, the good carbs) can, if used correctly, be real useful to your body. They can give it a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and fiber and can help it produce the energy it needs.
So, what is the difference between good carbs and bad carbs? Here’s one way of looking at it:
Bad carbs — bad carbs tend to be viewed as ’empty’ in terms of real nutritional value. Most bad carbs will come from food that has been heavily processed or refined…or that is high in refined sugars. Examples of bad carbs include foods that have been ‘bleached’ through processing like white bread, pasta and white rice and sugary foods such as cakes and candy.
Good carbs — good carbs can be found in foods that you eat more in their natural or original state. They will therefore naturally have a relatively high fiber content. Examples of good carbs include fruits, vegetables, brown rice and pastas, whole grain foods and beans.
One way of looking at how good and bad carbs work is to look at your body like it’s your car. You go to the gas station and you can choose to fill your tank with an economy gas or a premium gas. Now, you could choose to fill it up with the economy gas…and the car might still run. But, it might not run as well as it does on the premium gas.
It’s the same with carbs. Good carbs will make your body run better and they’ll therefore make it easier for you to lose weight. Bad carbs will keep you going but they can just give you a temporary “sugar spike” and could make you feel sluggish and listless afterwards…and they are likely to increase the fat in your body.
If you are on a diet, one of the biggest advantages of eating good carbs rather than bad carbs is that they can help solve one of the all-time greatest and most frustrating diet problems. Good carbs will stop you from feeling hungry for longer periods, whereas bad ones will only fill you up for a short period before hunger sets in again. Hopefully this one simple fact may be reason enough to make you think hard about eating more good carbs!
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