What are Carbs?

1,522 Views Updated: 15 Aug 2017
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What are Carbs?

Have you ever heard people often opting for anti-carb or no-carb diets? They do so because carbs are said to increase your calorie intake hence increasing the body weight.

It does not hold true in every case. Carbs can be good or bad, and a balanced intake of both will actually help you lose the unwanted pounds.

#1. What Are Carbs?

The sugar, starch, and fiber found in vegetables, fruits, dairy products and grains constitute of Carbohydrates. They are essentially a healthy part of our diet and are also part of our daily meals.

The American Diabetes Association suggests that carbohydrates are macro nutrients, hence makes up for one of the most important sources of energy and calories. Macro nutrients stimulate proper functioning of the body, and therefore our bodies demand them in bulk.

Carbohydrates are called so because of its composition which includes carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.


(Image Courtesy: INLIFE Healthcare)

#2. Function Of Carbohydrates

• Carbs work as the fuel to the body’s engine which is the central nervous system and also provides energy to the muscles to accelerate their working. They prevent proteins from being utilized as an energy source and also assist in fat metabolism.

• Carbs are important for the functioning of the brain as well. They influence the mood and memory and also provide instant energy. The RDA of carbohydrates is constructed on the amount of carbs that the brain requires to function. Studies have found that people on a low-carb diet are more prone to suffering from anxiety, depression, and anger.

• The right kind of carbs can help losing and maintaining a healthy weight. This happens because a lot of healthy carbohydrates, like whole grains and vegetables contain fiber. Dietary fiber is considered as relatively low-calorie foods.

• Fiber also helps in lowering cholesterol which fastens the digestion process. If your digestion improves, then the liver pulls the cholesterol from the blood and creates more bile acid which reduces the amount of LDL, i.e. ‘bad’ cholesterol.


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#3. Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Good carbs are low to moderate in calorie density, meaning that we can eat whole sum amounts of these to satiate our hunger without over boarding the calorie count.

Examples of Good carbs:

- Vegetables

- Apples, bananas, strawberries

- Lentils, kidney beans, peas

- Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts

- Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds

- Oats, quinoa, brown rice

And What Are Bad Carbs?

Bad carbs are very high in calorie density. They have high amounts of sugar and sodium. Consuming large quantities of bad carbs can lead to weight gain.

List of Bad Carbs:

- Corn Syrup

- White Sugar

- Potatoes

- White Pasta


(Image Courtesy: Livestrong)

A diet rich in good carbs can result into a lean body and better health. Whereas a diet comprising of processed carbs like white flour and cheeseburgers will not only bust your health but the entire system as well.

Good Carbs Are:

- Low in calorie density

- High in nutrients

- Lack refined sugars and refined grains

- High in natural fiber

- Low in sodium

- Low in saturated fat

- Very low in cholesterol and no Trans fats

Bad Carbs Are:

- High in calorie density

- High in refined sugars

- High in refined grains

- Low in many nutrients

- Low in fiber

- High in sodium

- High in saturated fat

- High in cholesterol and Trans fats.


(Image Courtesy: CFA's Healthwatch program)

If you are planning to shed some weight then consider cutting down on certain carbs means cutting down on certain carbs and replacing them with low-calorie good carbs. This will help you in reducing your calorie intake without cutting down on the volume of your meals. Replace your corn flakes with whole corn kernels and see the magic happening.

Have you been consuming the right carbs? Let us know in the comment section below.

(featured Image Courtesy: Healthista)

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