Myth 2: Carbs are carbs—it doesn’t matter what kind of carbs you eat
Fact: Not all carbs are the same. There are simple and complex carbs, and each has different effects on our bodies
Simple carbs are digested easily and are usually found on processed foods and drinks. Because they’re digested easily, they don’t keep you full longer and cause blood sugar spikes which can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, and damage to vital organs. Candies, biscuits, and soda are examples of simple carbs and are considered empty calories as they contain hardly any other nutrients.
Complex carbs on the other hand slow digestion, keep the blood sugar level and curb cravings. They contain complex chain of sugar, fiber, healthy fats, and other vitamins and minerals. Unrefined and wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholegrain breads and pasta as well as quinoa and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and beans are examples of complex carbs.
Fruits are considered simple carbs, but they contain natural sugar (fructose), and are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as fiber which aids in slowing down digestion, making them healthy choices.
Myth 3: White foods are bad
Fact: Let’s not discriminate, shall we?
While it is true that white foods such as white rice and other processed grains and sweets can quickly raise blood sugar and are known to promote weight gain, there are other white foods that are rich in carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. These include potatoes, apples, beans, and even cauliflower. The key is to find foods that have a more robust nutritional profiles and, of course, exercise portion control. Anything consumed in excess is bad and is fattening. But a medium-sized baked potato can provide potassium, fiber, and even vitamin C, so please enjoy it!
Myth 4: Glycemic Index is all that matter
Fact: Glycemic index alone won’t do the cut, it should be used along with other tools and common sense
Glycemic index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood sugar levels. Experts agree that while it is a good tool, it shouldn’t be used in isolation. Other qualities such as calories, nutrients, and fiber should all be considered.
We should practice our own discretion in choosing between an artificially-sweetened chocolate candy versus a mango or watermelon (which has a higher GI).
Myth 5: Low-carb diets are always healthier
Fact: Nixing carbs from your diet may have negative effects
Not really. Just because you are on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean it’s healthier. Remember that carbs are our bodies preferred fuel and consuming too less of them can leave us sluggish and affect our brain’s performance. When we have too little carbs, our bodies are forced to convert fat into fuel (known as ketosis) and this can lead to buildup of ketones, a byproduct of the process. This has adverse health effects such as nausea, difficulty focusing mentally, and even bad breath.
Carbohydrates play an important role in a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s all about finding the right balance and opting for nutrient-dense foods while keeping to our calorie limits.
We fear what we don’t know, hence we should look for credible sources and seek professional help. Don’t write off carbs completely just because you heard a friend of a friend said it’s evil.