Thinkstock / sugar0607
Carbohydrates get such a bad rep. Whether you’re dealing with weight gain, belly fat, or the lack of a thigh gap, carbohydrates seem to be at the top of the blame list. At this point, you may even think that daydreaming about carbohydrates will cause your pants to get a bit tighter, but don’t say goodbye to them altogether. You need carbohydrates to survive — not the enriched flour, chocolate-chip cookie, junk food type of carbohydrates, but the whole-grain, fiber-rich carbohydrates that will keep you satiated.
Carbohydrates are also energy for working muscles, fuel for the central nervous system, and the jump-starter for fat metabolism. Now you know that carbs are much more than a diet bomb. The truth is, if you have too much of anything, you could gain some weight.
Sticking to healthy carbohydrates can be really tricky without a Nutrition 101 class. The rule of thumb, however, is to increase your intake of complex carbohydrates and decrease your intake of simple carbohydrates. Well, that’s easier said than done. You may never guess that fruits, vegetables, and some dairy are considered simple carbohydrates. However, fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which is necessary for digestion. Sweets, soda, juice, white bread, and white rice are simple carbohydrates that do not really serve much of a purpose in your body.
Whole-grain breads, whole-grain pastas, starchy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates slow digestion and keep you fuller longer. They are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simple carbohydrates are not terrible for you, but they do not provide as many benefits as complex. After all, you are a very complex person and need all the nutrients you can get.