Technically, carbohydrates can be defined as a group of organic compounds found in the food and living tissues of animals and plants. These compounds, also known as carbohydrates, are the main source of energy for the body and can be divided into two main categories - simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates have a basic molecular structure, usually one or two parts. They are easily absorbed into the body when taken orally and emit sudden bursts of energy followed by the same sudden drop in levels when sugars are consumed.
A good source of simple sugars are refined and processed carbohydrates, which are made to be absorbed faster into the bloodstream. They provide energy faster than natural sugars, which have a lower glycemic index.
However, many of these refined sugars are only used as flavor enhancers in processed foods and have little or no nutritional value. This is why they are called empty calories.
Simple carbohydrates are also found in natural sources such as fruits, honey and dairy products.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have a more complex molecular structure of three or more parts. They take longer to break down into glucose for energy. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates also contain fiber, minerals and other nutrients.
Because complex carbohydrates break down slowly, energy lasts longer than simple carbohydrates provide. Sources include cereals and their products such as cereals, oats, rice and pasta. They are also found in potatoes, lentils, beans and peas.
When ingested, carbohydrates are digested and broken down into glucose, which is a simpler and more absorbable form. It is then transported through the blood to the body's organs and muscles, which break it down for energy. Such organs include the heart, kidneys, brain, and lungs.
Why you should or should not eliminate carbohydrates
Diet has become a widely discussed topic around the world, and any such discussion usually focuses on one thing - carbohydrates. For years, nutritionists have been torn between advising their patients to avoid carbohydrates altogether or to eat only the good ones. The result is a variety of diets available to everyone, including the famous Keto and Atkins diets.
To understand whether or not carbohydrates should be removed, we will look at the benefits and risks of eating carbohydrates.
The most important function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide energy. They are the main source of the body.
Most natural carbohydrate food sources, such as whole grains and vegetables, also contain a significant amount of fiber, which not only promotes good intestinal health, but also reduces the chance of other health problems, such as cholesterol buildup. .
In addition, when fats and fatty foods are replaced with carbohydrates like whole grains, they can help reduce fat intake, allowing you to maintain a healthy weight. Helps fight obesity and other health problems related to overweight.
The main disadvantage of eating carbohydrates is weight gain. As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is further broken down to produce energy. Excess glucose then accumulates in organs and muscles like fat, which causes weight gain. It is the basis for many diets that reduce carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are also dangerous for people with blood sugar problems like diabetes. When digested, they increase the amount of sugar in the blood and people with these conditions may not be able to control their levels well.
There is even a risk of sugar addiction. The effects may be somewhat similar to those of common street drugs.
For those who are concerned about their weight and blood sugar levels, the best alternative for maintaining health may be to stop eating carbohydrates and replace them with more essential sources of energy, such as protein.
Foods to Avoid in a Low Carb Diet
Bread and cereals
Bread is widely consumed all over the world. It is hard to find a family that does not use bread production. Refined or made from cereals, bread is mostly carbohydrate. A slice of plain white bread can contain up to 14 g of carbohydrates, while a slice of whole grain bread can contain up to 17 g. This obviously makes it a poor choice for a low carb meal.
This may sound quite ironic, given that some of the healthiest people in the world swear by them. Fruits are good sources of vitamins and fiber, and their health benefits are vast. Some studies even show that they can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
However, some fruits are rich in carbohydrates. These include bananas, apples, grapes and mangoes. The sweeter the fruit, the more sugar it contains.
Vegetables with lots of starch
Vegetables are also an important component of many diets, as they prefer high amounts of vitamins as well as high levels of fiber, which not only aid digestion but also help in weight loss and help control sugar levels. in the blood.
However, some vegetables are rich in starch, making them more carbohydrate-soluble than fiber. They include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets.
Pasta, like bread, is the staple food for many people on the planet. It is not only cheap but also easy to prepare and can be served with a variety of other dishes. However, many people who are concerned about their weight have decided to reduce pasta or avoid them altogether because of the large amount of carbohydrates they contain. Whether with whole grains or processed cereals, it is a poor choice for those looking to cut down on carbs. A healthy alternative would be shirataki noodles or spiral vegetables.
The ideal breakfast for at least half of the country's adults and children would be a bowl full of sugary cereals. While the justification would be that whole grains (especially whole grains) provide the body with much needed fiber, it is important to note that they contain far more sugars than fiber. For example, half a cup of oats contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and only 4 grams of fiber.
Foods for a low carb diet
The main goal of many low carb diets is to lose weight and improve overall health. The goal is to replace carbohydrates with other energy sources, usually healthy proteins and fats. The basic principle is that if the body receives a minimal amount of carbohydrates, it will not store them as fat. Here are some foods you should include in your low carb diet for best results:
- Lean meat protein - Refers to lean meat such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb, etc.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach
- High-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter
- Nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds and nuts
- Low carb fruits and berries
Popular low carb diets
The Atkins Diet
The Atkin diet focuses on weight loss and aims to consume proteins and fats that are high in carbohydrates. The idea was spread by Dr. Robert Atkins, who wrote a book about it in 1972.
Initially, the Atkins diet was considered unhealthy and not even encouraged by many other nutritionists because of the high amount of saturated fat that its followers would consume. However, over time, it has gained worldwide popularity, and numerous studies confirm this. It is very useful for people who want to lose weight or lower their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
The Atkins diet consists of four stages:
- Induction phase: involves eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for at least two weeks. It serves to start the process of losing weight, as well as involves the intake of large amounts of protein and fat.
- Continuous weight loss: This focuses on balancing weight loss and returning it to a steady pace. This includes the slow introduction of small amounts of carbohydrates into the diet.
- Pre-maintenance: This is when a person is close to his or her weight goals and he or she needs to slow down the weight loss process. This includes slowly adding carbohydrates to the diet until weight loss begins to slow down.
- Maintenance. This phase involves a lot of balance, where a person eats as many carbohydrates as possible without gaining weight.
Focused primarily on weight loss, the LCHF diet is based on the concept of eating low carbohydrate and high fat. It is also practiced for a number of other health reasons, such as reducing the risk and consequences of type 2 diabetes, heart problems and Alzheimer's disease.
The LCHF diet, also known as the Banting Plan (named after William Banting, who played a critical role in its popularization), includes eating whole and raw fats and moderate amounts of protein with minimal carbohydrate intake. Other diets like ketogenic and Atkins also rely on this rule, making them small variations of the LCHF diet.
There are no standard meal plans for this diet as it has to be tailored to individual needs. It is recommended to avoid any carbohydrate-rich foods like bread and pasta, as well as other sugary and starchy foods.
The dangers of a low carb diet
While low carb diets are ideal for weight loss (and other health benefits claimed), there are also some important risks that should not be overlooked by anyone looking to start with them.
Eating little or no carbohydrates increases the chances of dying young, especially in adulthood. This has been proven by numerous meta-analyzed studies from around the world.
These diets can also significantly increase the mortality rate, as seen in numerous studies in which those affected got at least 50 percent of their energy from high-carbohydrate foods.
Carbohydrates can be the body's main source of energy, but they can also be blamed for problems like weight gain and other health problems that come from consuming them excessively.
Because of this, experts have come up with low carb diets that seek to replace them with fats and proteins as energy sources. Diets like Atkins and LCHF work on the same principle: eat fewer carbohydrate foods and more protein and fat foods. Different meal plans and different stages are usually the only differences between such diets. For example, a low carb diet and these. They are associated with some risks, such as the risk of premature death.
Therefore, it would be wise to fully understand individual needs and consult a physician before embarking on a low carb diet.