Here’s why the body thrives on carbs
Over the last few years, carbs have received a bad rap, as low carb diets have seemed to skyrocket in popularity. But, is restricting your carbohydrate intake really all that healthy? For years, research has shown that carbs serve as the optimal fuel source for the body, and this still holds true today.
Read on to learn about why carbohydrates are still the body’s preferred fuel source and why the body thrives on nutrient-dense complex carbs.
4 Reasons the Body Thrives on Carbs
#1 Our Muscles Run on Carbs
There’s a reason why athletes notoriously fuel up on a carb-heavy meal before a big athletic event. This all has to do with the fact that our muscles rely on glycogen (aka carbs that are stored in our muscles and liver). By fueling your body with plant-based carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise, you can be sure that your muscles have their preferred energy source.
#2 The Brain Needs Carbs
Just like our muscles need carbs, our brain does too. The brain’s preferred energy source is glucose, and you get glucose from carbs.
Think about the last time you went a while without eating or if you went all day without carbs. Chances are, you felt fuzzy and maybe even irritable. This brain needs carbs to help us stay focused and have the mental stamina to power through the day.
#3 Healthy Carbs May Help With Fat Loss
Ditch the idea that all carbs are bad and that all carbs make you fat. Researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah actually found that those who boosted their fiber-rich food intake (which are generally rich in complex carbs) lost weight.
Those who lowered the amount of fiber they consumed, gained weight. This gives us the information we need to know that complex carbs like beans, lentils, and starchy veggies may be great for our waistline.
#4 Restricting You Carb Intake May Have Consequences
Drastic restriction of any food group is bound to have long-term health repercussions. And, avoiding carbs may not be the best thing for overall health.
When you cut carbs, you may be more prone to feeling fatigued and experience brain fog. Studies have also found that low carb diets may be linked to a greater chance of heart disease.
The Healthiest Plant-based Carbs to Add to Your Diet
Ok, so we get that the body needs carbs to thrive, but not all carbs are created equal. The rule of thumb here is to steer clear of refined and processed carbs. Things like white bread, pasta, pastries, and candy should be avoided—all that sugar isn’t going to do the body any good. It’s the complex carb, fiber-rich foods that our body relies on for energy.
Here are some of the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate options to add to your plant-based diet.
- Brown rice
- Starchy veggies (like sweet potatoes and squash)
Eat the Carbs
If all the talk about low carb diets has you confused and wondering about your own carbohydrate intake, don’t sweat it. Studies still indicate that healthy carbohydrate consumption from plant-based and high fiber sources is beneficial for overall health.
So long as you are limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates, consuming complex carbs can be a really great way to create a well-rounded plant-based diet to support overall health.