Does carbohydrate bad for health??? Obviously not, but some can be healthier than others. Discover why carbohydrates are so important for health and which ones should you choose.
The consumption of carbohydrates usually has a bad reputation, especially in regards to weight gain. However, not all carbohydrates are bad. Because of its countless health benefits, carbohydrates have earned a place in your diet. In fact, it is very important to function properly.
The consumption of some carbohydrates may be more recommendable than others. In this article, you will learn more about them and how to choose the healthiest ones. Before understanding what a ‘good’ carbohydrate is and why we have to use it in our daily diet without complexes we should be clear about exactly what a carbohydrate is and how it behaves in our body.
Information about carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in many foods like bread, rice and beverages. Most of them are found in foods of vegetable origin, as in cereals. Food manufacturers also add carbohydrates in the form of starch or sugar added to processed foods. Carbohydrates should represent a high percentage in our diet, choosing the healthiest.
Frequent sources of natural carbohydrates include:
Types of carbohydrates
There are three main types of representative carbohydrates in our diet:
Sugar: Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate and is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products. Among them, we find fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (common sugar) and lactose (present in milk).
Starch: It is a complex carbohydrate, which means that it is made up of many units of sugar together. Starch is found naturally in products of vegetable origin, and its concentration will be higher the less processed or cooked the food is.
Fiber: Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate. It is found naturally in fruits and plant products such as whole grains and seeds.
How many carbohydrates do we need?
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is suggested that carbohydrates should meet most of the energy needs and represent between 55% and 75% of daily intake. On the other hand, simple sugars should constitute less than 10%.
Therefore, if you consume 2000 calories per day, you will have to consume between 900 and 1300 calories per day from carbohydrates. This translates to 225 to 325 grams per day.
5 tips to choose the consumption of carbohydrates in an intelligent way
The consumption of carbohydrates is essential for a healthy diet because it represents a very healthy energy source. Here you will see how to incorporate healthy carbohydrates to a balanced diet in an appropriate way:
1. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in fiber
Fruits and vegetables are foods with a high load of healthy sugars.
Look for whole, fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar. Other options are fruit juices and dehydrated fruits, which are concentrated sources of natural sugar and, therefore, have more calories.
Whole fruits and vegetables also provide fiber and water, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. All this will help you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories.
2. Choose whole grains
Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, than refined grains. Refined cereals go through a process that eliminates certain parts of the grain, as well as part of the nutrients and fiber.
3. Eat low-fat dairy products
Dairy products are rich in healthy sugars such as lactose, in addition to calcium and vitamins. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, in addition to many other vitamins and minerals. Consider consuming low-fat versions to limit calories and saturated fat. And be careful with dairy products that have added sugar.
4. Eat more legumes
Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. In general, they are low in fat and high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium, as well as fats and beneficial fibers.
Legumes are a good source of protein and can be an easy substitute for meat, which has more saturated fat and cholesterol.
5. Limits the consumption of added sugar
The added sugar is probably not harmful in small amounts. However, consuming commonly added sugar has no health benefit. The healthy eating guidelines recommend limiting the consumption of added sugar to less than 10% of the calories you consume every day. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce your consumption to low levels.
Finally, you should choose carbohydrate consumption with intelligence. Limit the consumption of foods with added sugar and refined grains, such as sugary drinks, desserts and sweets, which have many calories but are not very nutritious. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains.