The no-carb diet is arguably one of the most common trends around. As with any dietary trend, it’s important to read beyond the headlines and dig into iron-clad definitions and information to ensure it’s the right diet for you. After all, there can be a few misconceptions about carbohydrates…
Carbohydrates are often considered to be the enemy of a healthy diet – to be avoided at all costs. However, there are actually some great healthy carbs that are natural sources of energy which can work well alongside your healthy lifestyle. We’ve highlighted the good carbs, and the ‘bad’ (without moderation) to help you understand this complex food group.
Carbs are fibre-rich foods which our bodies take and turn into glucose. Sometimes we can forget the health benefits of carbohydrates and instead view high-carb foods as an enemy.
The truth is that carbohydrates are an important part of any balanced diet as illustrated by the NHS Eatwell Guide. While people certainly need to keep an eye on how much they are eating, avoiding them completely can have negative effects.
Fun Fact: carbs can be found in a wide range of delicious fruit and vegetables! Carbs are present in avocado, bananas, strawberries, grapes, and so much more, all of which are a great, healthy means to include this vital food group in your vegan diet.
Whole grains are the holy grail of healthy carbs with foods like bran flakes, porridge, brown pasta, bread and rice making a great alternative to their ‘white food’ counterparts. They are known as ‘complex carbohydrates’ because they have a lot more nutritional value and take longer to digest, meaning they leave you feeling full for longer which can aid diet control.
Lastly, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy! They typically come from sugar, bread, pasta, wheat and potatoes which are broken down into glucose before entering into your cells as insulin which can aid exercise.
Carbs that have come to be known as ‘white food’ include white rice, bread and pasta. These are the most commonly demonised by dieters, but are not ‘bad’, you just need to eat them in moderation.
You can make simple steps towards moderating these, try to swap white bread for whole grain bread once in a while or substitute your rice for quinoa.
Similarly, sweets, donuts, cakes, processed cereals should be a treat, not part of your daily diet. If you are interested in learning more about losing weight, refer to the NHS weight loss plan.
One easy way of maintaining a balanced diet is by embracing good and bad carbohydrates in a low carb diet. This ensures that your body is still absorbing all the amazing health benefits of carbs – energy, fibre, healthy gut – but in moderation. Therefore, you don’t have to completely cut out this major food group and go on a strict no-carb diet. Instead you can enjoy some of the delicious low carb foods below…
There we have it, your guide to carbohydrates. We hope we have helped dispel some of the myths behind this often demonised food group, as at the end of the day a healthy diet is all about balance!