Over the past few years the humble carbohydrate has been given a hard time.
We have been led to believe that eating carbohydrates will make you fat and that all the foods that used to be a staple item in our diets are now bad for us. Think bread, pasta, potato, rice etc.
But are they really bad for us? Our bodies are amazing machines and they need the proper fuel so they function at their optimum level and they certainly can’t do that without carbs.
So what are these ‘carbs’? Carbohydrates are compounds that our body uses for energy. They are found in almost every type of food you eat – albeit in different forms and amounts. All carbohydrates are made up of individual ‘building blocks’ or sugar molecules. The most basic carbohydrates – such as the sugar you put in your tea, or that gives your apple its sweet taste – consist of just one or two of these molecules.
Other more complex (or ‘starchy’) carbohydrates are made up of a number – sometimes hundreds – of sugar molecules joined together. These are the types of carbohydrate found in bread, pasta and rice, as well as some types of fruit and vegetables.
Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of fuel. If you have been on a ‘low carb’ diet, you have probably been quite lethargic some days.
So why do so many ‘experts’ out there have a vendetta against carbs? The simplest answer is that it sells. It’s profitable for diet companies and authors if you are always needing more and more information about the ‘latest discoveries’ and the ‘latest diet that will change your life’. The other reason is that by taking in less energy, your body may have to use some of its own stores of energy instead. But people who encourage you just to eat less energy are not truly concerned about your health – you can take in less energy just as easily by cutting out junk food, or eating less. You shouldn’t ever stop feeding your body the healthy energy and nutrition that it needs to survive, just to lose weight. That’s not how our bodies are designed.
The fact is that our country has never had such high rates of obesity – even with all these ‘promising’ diets. Go back to the old days, where our grandparents ate staple foods like bread, potatoes and other fruit and vegetables, and it was hard to find someone who was obese!
If you’re still not convinced that carbohydrates won’t make you fat, then just think about how many people you know who are overweight because they ate too many vegetables, wholegrain breads or rice. The healthiest, longest-living people in the world – the Japanese – eat rice with every meal.
So fuel your body and feel good about eating carbohydrates at your next meal.
Leanne is a qualified personal trainer and weight loss consultant. As a devoted mum, she has spent much of her life being a healthy role model for her three now grown up children.
Hundreds of women have benefited from Lee’s health and fitness advice, tips and tricks, meal and recipe ideas, and exercise programs. She loves helping women learn how to stay healthy and get the most out of life while being busy mums. Check out her website www.leeshealthywomensclub.com.au or find her on facebook @leeshealthywomensclub