5 reasons you need to be eating carbs

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5 reasons you need to be eating carbs

Sure – there are some processed, high GI carbohydrates we can live without. Think white bread, white rice, potato chips, biscuits and sugars. However, there are just as many nutritious, low GI carbohydrate foods that benefit our health and our wellbeing, such as wholegrain bread, fruit, oats, quinoa, legumes and starchy vegetables. We feel strongly about including these nutritious carb foods in your diet, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. They help to balance your energy levels

Low GI carbohydrate foods provide a steady, stable stream of energy for two or more hours post consumption. Small, frequent intakes throughout the day will also help to prevent the sugar cravings that arise from a drop in your blood sugar levels. Some people are more sensitive to cutting carbs than others. You may feel a dip in your energy levels, stamina and mood after one day, one week, or within the first few months on a low-carb diet. Studies have shown that very few people can maintain a low-carb diet beyond 3-6 months, without these negative side effects.

2. They are essential for exercise performance

Carbohydrates are essential for exercise performance, particularly high intensity training and building muscle. Firstly, rapid bursts of energy (i.e. for sprints, jumps, lifting weights etc) require anabolic energy production from carbohydrate metabolism. Secondly, if you are not consuming enough carbohydrates to fuel your exercise, replenish glycogen stores and support essential bodily functions, there is risk your protein intake will be used for these tasks, and not for muscle growth and repair. This can leave you vulnerable to injury and illness in the long term. Lastly, if you are looking to build size and muscle mass, carbohydrates can help you reach the calorie surplus you need.

3. They promote bowel and digestive health

High fibre carbohydrate foods, including fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, and wholegrains, are rich sources of prebiotic fibre. Prebiotic fibres act as ‘food sources’ for good bacteria within the gut, supporting a healthy gut microbiome. In addition, higher consumption of these prebiotic foods has been linked to reduced growth of Enterobacteriaceae, a bacteria associated with inflammation and a number of chronic diseases.

4. They may help you live longer, and maintain a healthy weight for longer

Moderate and high carbohydrate dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Japanese and vegetarian/vegan diets, have been linked to a higher life expectancy. These dietary patterns typically have 55-65% of total energy derived from carbohydrates or more, equating to roughly 150-350g of carbohydrates per day (depending on your body mass, gender, age and activity levels). Furthermore, there is equally good evidence linking these dietary patterns with weight management. In particular, observation studies show that followers of the traditional Mediterranean and vegan/vegetarian diets have a lower body mass index (BMI) than the rest of the population. What’s more, followers of these dietary patterns maintain their lower BMI status over decades, rather than months.

They are delicious!

Sure, low carb diets are trendy. But after reading our notes above, we hope you’re convinced that cutting carbs is certainly not necessary, and likely detrimental to your health. So why punish yourself by cutting out so many nutritious, tasty foods, for no good reason? Life is too short to deprive yourself – so enjoy your delicious carbs with our blessing!

Samantha Stuk Posted by: Samantha Stuk

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