The basics of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body’s main sources of energy. They contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. As well as being an energy source providing 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates have many other functions essential to health in the body such as the nervous and digestive systems.

Carbohydrates can be split into simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates such as those found in fruit, dairy, sweets, biscuits and cakes are digested and absorbed quicker than complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs can lead to sugar highs and lows while complex carbs found in wholegrain bread & cereal, beans, vegetables and potatoes can lead to more sustained energy. There is no need to avoid simple carbs but a healthy diet would contain a greater amount of complex carbs as they also contain more vitamins, minerals and fibre.

A lot of recent diets have demonised carbs and made going low carb or no carb popular methods of weight loss but carbs are not the devil! This is just one of many ways that you can reduce your calorie intake thus creating the energy deficit required to lose body fat. It is effective as carbohydrates tend to make up the bulk of most people’s diet and are also the food group that the majority tend to overeat! When eaten in the right amount carbs are as effective as any other macronutrient in helping us achieve the body shape, health and feeling of wellbeing.

Severely restricting or cutting out carbs completely is unsustainable for a lot of people meaning they regain the weight they have lost. There can also be serious health implications from taking just drastic steps without professional advice.

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