Are carbs really all that bad for you? Well, it depends. Those who consume too many carbohydrates without balancing them out with other nutrients such as protein, fat, and fiber, may suffer several drawbacks. To be completely honest, carbs are not BAD. In fact, out bodies rely on sufficient carbohydrates as an energy source to efficiently function and survive. However, they can be dangerous when we don’t utilize them properly or when we overindulge in them. It’s a little difficult when we are surrounded by so many starchy and sugary foods like mashed potatoes, white bread, pastries, and countless other empty calorie snacks.
Then you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, for the majority of the population who spends a good amount of time sitting down, their carbohydrate needs are far lower than someone who spends most of the day on their feet. Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source, so when energy needs are higher, eat up! In this instance, carbs are good! They can become bad, however, when we don’t put all that extra energy to use, leading to problems such as weight gain or risk of chronic disease.
So does this mean that if you don’t exercise enough you can’t have pasta, bread, or cereal? Not necessarily. Although it is definitely good to exercise more often, those who live fairly sedentary lifestyles can incorporate more whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, and whole grain fortified cereals to limit total carb count and keep blood sugar low.
The takeaway message: carbs are neither good nor bad, but they can easily be abused. Energy in, energy out! If you absolutely MUST have your carbs, look for whole grain and reduced sugar options.