The Truth about Carbs

 
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People are TERRIFIED of carbs.

 

Everywhere you look there are carb-free meals and “carb-clever” alternatives. People are freaking out. They’re either obsessing about what might happen if they slip up, or feeling guilty about falling off the Banting-Wagon.

 

It’s like carbs are a force of evil. Out to get us.

 

Quite honestly, I find it bizarre. That FOOD can have such power over how we feel about ourselves. It seems to tell us whether we are good or bad, controlled or reckless. We’re either on or off diet. Nothing in-between.

 

The thing is, not all carbs are equal.

 

Vegetables are carbohydrates. Do you really believe that vegetables are the enemy? And that lots of animal protein is actually better for you?

Of course you don’t.

We seem to be confusing carbs with the real culprits, which are refined foods and sugar-laden foods. And as a result, we are labeling all carbs as BAD.

 

Whole grains are not inherently bad either.

 

They provide fibre (hello good digestion!), vitamins, minerals and a host of phyto-nutrients. They help regulate blood sugar. They’re a great source of stress-reducing Vitamin B. They promote good bacteria in the digestive tract. And a strong digestive tract is ESSENTIAL to good health, including good immune function and mental wellbeing too!

But nutrition is the one science where there are as many scientific “facts” for something as there are against it.

 

Bottom line: you need to listen to your own gut here.

 

If you have an allergy or intolerances, of course you should avoid the relevant culprits. If you feel a dip in energy levels, bloating, or any other symptoms when you eat these foods, take note and adjust.

The same can be said for avoiding peanuts or penicillin. Do what’s best for you. Your personal allergy doesn’t make them inherently bad for everyone.

 

My suggestions:

 

  1. Focus on balance by eating across a wide variety of food sources. This is timeless advice that really does make sense.
  2. Focus more on avoiding refined, processed foods than eliminating entire food groups. I read somewhere that if food is advertised, avoid it. Makes sense to me.
  3. If you suspect an issue, get an allergy test to put your mind at rest. Or just try a simple elimination diet yourself – you’ll feel the difference immediately.
  4. Make mindful choices, favouring low GL options to stabilize blood sugar and reduce insulin (plus the fat storing, fatigue and moodiness that comes with it).
  5. Check ingredient lists –when choosing grains, make sure they’re real whole grains, and not just made to appear that way by clever marketers.
  6. Don’t be obsessive about it! You won’t always get it right and that won’t kill you. Please just relax about this.
  7. Avoid eliminating an entire food group - this often results in feelings of deprivation, which fuels grumpiness and cravings.
  8. Instead of focusing all your energy on what you can’t do and what you shouldn’t do, focus your attention on what’s nourishing you the most – and have more of that.
  9. Stop the self-judgment - remember that all the scared and worried thoughts, the guilt, the cravings and the denial are creating a major stress response in your system – which is way worse for you than a slice of whole-wheat bread.
  10. Every now and then, just eat the damn cake.