Get a load of this: Seven good reasons not to cut the carbs

Lifestyle

Get a load of this: Seven good reasons not to cut the carbs

As if you needed any excuses!

Staff reporter

Potatoes, bread, and pasta are usually the first to go when we want to drop a few kilograms. But eliminating carbs isn’t as healthy as you may think. In fact, cutting them completely from your diet can lead to everything from a slower metabolism to decreased brain functioning, insomnia, headaches, muscle cramps and even sweaty feet.
The important thing is to substitute bad carbs with good carbs. Good carbs are whole grains and grain products that are packed with nutrients, such as buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, rye bread and wholegrain pasta. Bad carbs such as white rice, flour, bread and pasta are processed and therefore contain very few nutrients. These are the culprits that give carbs such a bad rap.
Twila Cannell of The Grainery, a local company supplying healthy grains, shares seven reasons why incorporating good carbs into your diet is actually good for you.
Carbs make you happy
Eating carbohydrates triggers your brain to produce serotonin, or the “happy” hormone. This not only elevates your mood but helps with appetite control and sleep cycles. Studies show that people who follow a very low carbohydrate diet for long periods experience more depression, anxiety and anger than those on a low-fat, high-carb diet. Ever craved carbs when you’re feeling down? This may be the reason they’re our go-to comfort food.
Help you lose stomach fat
A diet high in both insoluble and soluble fibre can prevent weight gain and even aid weight loss. Certain carbohydrates, such as black and brown rice, contain both forms of fibre and eating these can help you lose weight, decrease your stomach fat and beat those feelings of sluggishness.
Essential for good heart health
It’s well known that eating more soluble fibre decreases your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels. Carbohydrates such as oats, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice are extremely high in fibre and are therefore a great option if you’re struggling with high cholesterol.
Boost your energy
If you’ve ever been told to carbo-load for a race or workout, you’ll know carbs are key to boosting your energy. Your body turns carbs into glucose, which it uses for energy. Without carbs, your body actually starts to eat away at your protein stores and muscles for energy.
Help you think better
Just like your body, your brain needs carbs for energy, so lowering your carb intake can affect your brainpower. If you cut them out completely you may experience fuzziness or have trouble concentrating. In fact, a study showed that women who eliminated carbs from their diets performed significantly worse in memory and visuospatial memory tests than their counterparts on low-calorie diets.
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Whole grains in general are rich in B vitamins, selenium, potassium, magnesium, folic acid and iron. Grains such as quinoa and amaranth contain extremely high levels of protein, so they’re particularly good for vegetarians, while black and red rice are high in cancer-fighting anthocyanin antioxidants.
Keep you full and energised
Complex carbohydrates stabilise your blood sugar levels, which means you feel full for longer and have more stable energy levels. This is particularly good news for diabetics. Low-GI carbs facilitate effective diabetes management, and red rice, specifically, has been linked to stabilised sugar levels over a long period of time.

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