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What Are Carbs?

by | Dec 21, 2018 | Nutrition

bread on a plate

What Carbs Are and Why You Should Control Them

If you’ve been trying to focus on your health and fitness, it’s likely you’ve heard of carbs and how they’re evil. But do you know exactly what “carbs” are and what they do to and for your body? Carbs or carbohydrates are an important component of any diet but the type and amount that you consume is where you can get in trouble with your health. Your body typically needs carbs to function. Carbs are simply the sugars, starches and fibers found in a variety of foods. They are macronutrients, one of three main types that the body uses for fuel. Carbs, protein, and fats make up the trifecta of macronutrients that your body uses to function. All macronutrients are gained through a balanced diet and your body can’t make them on their own, but they are crucial to survival. The breakdown of how many “macros” of each category you need varies based on your activity level, goals, and overall health.

Why Are Carbs Important?

Carbs play an important role in your diet, whether you eat a lot of them as a high-performing athlete, or you try to watch your carb intake. Just as any of the macronutrients, you need carbs to survive. They offer fuel to the central nervous system and provide energy for your muscles. They also prevent precious protein from being used as an energy source, which is especially critical if you’re focused on strength training. Additionally, carbs are key in brain function as they can influence your mood, memory, and more. The brain needs carbs to function properly.


The Right and Wrong Kinds of Carbs

The trick with carbs is consuming the right kind. Carbs are classified into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbs are composed of just one or two sugars and can be found in fruit, dairy and processed foods like baked goods, soda, candy, and syrup. Complex carbs contain three or more sugars and can be found in foods like veggies, beans, potatoes, lentils, and breads. While either type of carb can be beneficial to your body, the source from which you get carbs is key. There are bad carbs and good carbs. Bad carbs are those you get from processed foods that really have no nutritional value like candy and soda. The carbs you get from nutritious things like sweet potatoes and legumes can be all-stars when it comes to hitting your recommended macronutrients.


Can Processed Carbs Be Dangerous?

Consuming a lot of processed carbs can quickly spike insulin. Bad carbs are considered to be high-glycemic foods which raise blood sugar rapidly instead of gently. Research has linked high-glycemic foods to a variety of health ailments like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even some cancers. The right kinds of carbs can actually be good for your body but knowing the difference between what to eat is key. In addition, following a consistent exercise plan can combat the effects of bad carbs on your body. Navigating the world of fitness and macronutrients can be tough, but we’re here to help! Contact Loyalty Fitness today to find out more about our strength training programs and what kind of nutrition can benefit you.

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