Contrary to common belief, carbohydrates are still a necessary part of your diet, and should not be completely removed for weight loss.
Carbohydrates As Nutrients
Carbohydrates are commonly demonized in mainstream health and fitness culture, but it’s important to realize that limiting your carb intake is not the same as eliminating them completely. Carbohydrates are still essential nutrients your body needs for its health.
Carbohydrates, molecules comprising of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, are the body’s main source of energy. While exercising, the first energy source the body uses is from carbohydrates. After that, it uses its protein, then its fat stores.
Why are they important? Carbohydrates actually provide the body with essential components to the most important proteins and fats in our bodies. Health & fitness culture commonly emphasizes the importance of proteins.
But what isn’t commonly known is that many proteins are usually completed by the addition of carbohydrates once it has fully formed. This addition helps the protein fulfill the function it was made for. Therefore, for the sake of your proteins, a zero-carb diet would be particularly harmful. Remember that.
Carbohydrates also provides nutrients for our gut microbiota. As you may know, our gut bacteria are an essential part of our digestive system. If we lack carbs, some of our gut bacteria may begin to starve, and our ability to properly digest our food could be seriously affected.
Also, if your body lacks carbohydrates, it might turn to your muscles as a source of energy during your workouts.
How Should We Eat, Then?
So does this mean that a high-carb diet is good? The answer to this is no. The common idea that you should limit your carb intake still comes from somewhere. Recent studies have shown that a low-carb diet may even be more beneficial with regards to weight loss than a low-fat diet.
A recent study at McMaster University has shown that “a moderate intake of fat, fruits, vegetables, and avoidance of high carbs” is associated with longer lifespans. Studies at Harvard Universities have also shown that it is less important the “amount of carbohydrates” you eat, than the “type of carbohydrates” you eat. Healthier high-carb foods include wheat bread, barley, quinoa and rye, rather than white bread and French fries.