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Learning to love Carbs!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I can’t go a day without seeing the "low carb" message. Whether it is on tv or someone you know that is talking about it, it seems to be everywhere these days. With this trend we are seeing, I felt like it would be an appropriate time to write a blog about carbs and defend them.

“What are carbs?”

The abbreviation "carbs" stands for carbohydrates or are also called starches. Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients in our diets. Macronutrients provide energy to our bodies. More specifically carbohydrates are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in food.

“But carbs serve no purpose and just cause us to gain weight.”

FALSE! This is a common thing I hear, but it is a myth. Carbohydrates, found in starchy foods like grains and root vegetables as well as fruits, vegetables, and dairy, are the easiest and most efficient way for our body to produce fuel for our body. Our brain alone uses about 130 grams of glucose a day and that doesn’t even take into account the energy rest of your body requires for fuel. Carbs also help with cognitive function and gastrointestinal function. When we have too little carbohydrate intake, our body will actually not be able to build muscle mass. The protein you eat begins being diverted towards glucose production rather than being used to repaid muscle tissue to ensure your body has enough energy.

“So why do carbs get such a bad reputation?”

I think that for a long-time, carbs have gotten a bad reputation because they are highly palatable and easy to overeat, more-so than many other types of foods. I truly believe that a large part of this overeating comes from the idea of carbohydrates being an “off limit” food. When we label foods as good or bad, we tend to lose the ability to eat them intuitively or in the appropriate amount. Think about toddlers-when you tell a toddler not to touch something, that is immediately what they want to touch! This is how our body acts with food. If we label a food "bad," then try to avoid it, eventually we may no longer be able to avoid it. Then when it appears we overindulge for fear of never having the food again.

Let’s try to change the way we think about carbohydrates, incorporate a wide variety of them into our daily intake, and remember all the benefits that they give to us. Your body will appreciate the positive change!

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