We often get asked should I be eating carbohydrates (often referred to as ‘carbs’) if I want to lose weight and are they good or bad for me? The truth is, carbohydrates are one of the 3 main nutrients found in food, they are our body’s preferred energy source and essential for optimal health. The confusion can come when we see all carbohydrates as the same so we thought we’d share some differences that you may find helpful.
There are 3 different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar which is a simple carbohydrate, and starch and fibre, which are both complex carbohydrates.
Firstly, there is sugar known as a simple carbohydrate because of its basic form, which can be found in foods such as the sugar in sweets, desserts, processed foods, and fizzy drinks. This is the type of carbohydrate we would need to consume moderately in our diet due to the high insulin response it has in the body.
Complex Carbohydrates (Starch and Fibre)
Then there’s starchy carbohydrates known as complex carbohydrates and are made up of lots of simple sugars strung together, which include foods such as bread, rice, cereal, pasta and oats.
And finally fibre, also a complex carbohydrate, eating foods that are high in fibre can help you feel full and make you less likely to overeat. Diets high in fibre have other health benefits too, they may help prevent intestinal problems, such as constipation and they help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels helping protect against the onset of diabetes. Fibre is found in many foods that come from plants, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
So when it comes to weight loss it is important to know that if you consume more calories than you use, whether it be of protein, fats or carbohydrates, you’ll gain weight. However, you can choose well when it comes to carbohydrates. For example, on your dinner plate aim to cover half of your plate with fibre rich carbohydrates such as leafy green vegetables, and then roughly a quarter of your plate with starchy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or basmati rice. With the simple carbohydrates, you could add a drizzle of honey on your porridge or opt for an occasional dessert after dinner.
It would also be worth mentioning here that our genes can also play a huge part in how we process carbohydrates. For example, as a result of doing Áine doing her DNA test, she found that she is much better suited to a lower carbohydrate diet. This was interesting as Áine said she always seemed to gravitate towards a lower carbohydrate diet as she felt much better.
If you would like more information about our DNA programme, then do get in touch.
I hope you have found this helpful.
To your health and happiness,
Áine & Sarah x