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Carbohydrates and Weight Management

It’s all around you—the everlasting debate about carbohydrates and weight management. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they addicting? Will eliminating carbs from your diet help you lose weight? Is a lack of carbs healthy for your body? It’s almost definite that you’ve heard these questions (along with many others) before reading them in this article. So, what’s the deal with carbohydrates and weight management? Let’s examine carbs a little more closely to find out if they are your friend or your foe.

What is a carbohydrate?

A carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients (the other two being fat and protein) your body needs to produce energy for both bodily functions and mental functions. Therefore, carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy body. If this is true, then what is all the fuss about? Why are so many people blaming carbohydrates for their weight gain? Why are low-carb diets so popular?

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and usually contain refined sugar and few vitamins and minerals. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, take longer to digest and are usually full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Examples of simple carbohydrates:

  • Fruit
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Sugar

Examples of complex carbohydrates:

  • Vegetables
  • Grains (bread, cereal, pasta, etc.)

Just by looking at the examples above, it seems that the simple carbohydrates aren’t the healthiest for your body. However, you must keep in mind that even the good carbs can contribute to weight gain. It’s true--too much of a good thing isn’t always healthy either. The real enemies are the unwise choices of overeating and lack of exercise.

The Proper Way to Enjoy Carbohydrates

First of all, don’t shut carbs out completely. Carbohydrates and weight management actually go hand in hand. Instead, just make healthier carb choices. It’s all about portion control and physical fitness. When the two are combined, you can enjoy more foods than you thought possible, without putting on the unwanted weight. Healthy eating habits and exercise should be a way of life for everyone if they wish to life a long and healthy life.

Portion Control and Smart Choices

As a general rule, try to stick with more of the good carbs than the bad ones. One great thing about complex carbohydrates is that they contain fewer calories than simple ones and are actually more filling and definitely more beneficial for your body.

You can be a smart consumer by:

  • Reading labels carefully
  • Stocking up on fruits and vegetables
  • Sticking with high fiber and whole grain foods

If you have difficulty with portion control, there are guidelines out there that will help educate you on serving sizes. If all else fails, check with your doctor or hire a nutritionist.

Portions are much smaller than people realize. Eating out at restaurants, or grabbing a bite to eat at the nearest fast food place, have obscured our views on portions. Instead of receiving one serving, we end up with 3 to 4 servings on our plate. What’s worse is that we usually eat all of it, just because it’s there.

Remember, carbohydrates and weight management go hand in hand. When eating the right way, they can be quite beneficial to our health. Don’t forget to stay active—exercise is just as important as making smart eating choices. Always remember that you have the power to make good choices for your well being.

Carbohydrates--friend or foe? It’s really up to you!

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