Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body that you get from your food. The main source of carbs are fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dairy, and lentils.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the primary energy source for your daily activities. It is an essential part of the diet that provides you energy. But, it has become a myth that it can cause weight gain. I always tell my clients it is not in the carbohydrates that make you gain excess weight, but the leading cause lies in your lifestyle and dietary habits.
Understand Simple & Complex Carbohydrates:
When you talk about carbohydrates, you must remember that all carbs are not the same. There are three types of carbohydrates, namely – sugar, fiber, and starch. Among them, sugar is a simple carbohydrate primarily found in processed food & drinks. It is easy to break down and doesn’t keep you full or satisfied, providing an instant energy boost and leading to a spike in blood sugar levels.
Eating such food items can also make you feel hungry quickly, and you may end up eating in excess, which is more harmful when trying to lose weight. But, it is not that simple carbohydrate is not present in healthy food. It is also found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Here it is more about looking at the powerful nutritional content of the food item.
On the other hand, fiber-rich food helps prevent blood-sugar level spikes and ultimately makes you feel satisfied and full for longer.
From this information, you can understand that you have to choose your source of carbohydrate wisely. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to provide nutrition and satisfy your hunger. And limit the intake of refined sugar & refined grains etc., which are low in nutrition and won’t do much good for your overall health.
Weight gain is more linked to your diet & lifestyle habits. It is not in carbohydrates, fats, or any other nutrient that you are gaining weight. But, the major cause lies behind your sedentary lifestyle & bad eating habits. So, avoiding such diet-related myths is the best way to maintain a healthy weight and support your weight loss journey.
Apart from understanding the types of carbs, the food industry and modern dieticians also give importance to another factor, i.e., glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a scale that rates the amount of carbohydrates food contains from the scale of zero to 100. It demonstrates how fast food can cause a blood sugar spike.
Food is categorized as low, medium, and high glycemic and rated on a scale of zero to 100. The lower glycemic index food is which slightly affects the blood sugar levels. On the other hand, high glycemic index food raises blood sugar levels quickly.
Refined carbohydrate and sugar digest quickly and have a high glycemic index. Food rich in protein, fiber, and fat has a low glycemic index.
When we look at the traditional food combinations like dal-chawal (lentil with rice) or baked potatoes with vegetables, we can see it is a perfect combination. Such combinations are balanced meals and don’t even cause any blood sugar spikes.
Here, it is also essential to understand that you must not confuse yourself too much with such estimates. Two food items may have the same glycemic index, but anyhow one of them can lack nutritional value. So, it is more about the nutritional value than watching out for the GI of the food.