Wondering what are carbohydrates? What’s the big deal about Low Carb Diets?
Carbohydrates are obtained from staple diet and provide energy to body. Carbohydrates are the main source of calories in our meal. Carbohydrates are divided in two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugar and starches. Complex carbohydrates are obtained from vegetables, whole grains and pulses.
Carbohydrates have been targeted by various diet communities as the culprit of obesity. Well, this may be true but “all carbs are not bad’. They have to be eaten wisely. Firstly, differentiate between the simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrate energy is obtained from sugar. Other sources are:
Biscuits, Cakes and pastries, Chocolate, Honey and jams Jellies Brown and white cane sugar Pizzas Prepared foods and sauces Soft drinks Sweets and snack bars.
Complex carbohydrates are found in:
- Brown rice
- Root vegetables
- Sweet corn
- Wholegrain cereals
How many calories does Carbohydrates provide?
Each gram of carbohydrate provides 4 Kcal.
How much carbohydrate does one need?
Recent studies have shown that excess of carbohydrates which are not used up by the body is converted into fat and stored in the body which is one of the main culprits of weight gain as well as cholesterol problems.
That’s right-cutting carbs can have a three fold benefit.
1. Helps in weight loss
2. Helps in reducing sugar levels in diabetics
3. Helps in reducing the cholesterol levels.
In a low carbohydrate diet, the calories will be made up by fat and protein.
Which carbohydrates should you skip?
It is best to avoid the easily digested refined carbohydrates obtained from refined grain flour (maida/suji): white bread, white rice, as well as pastries, sweetened beverages, highly processed foods. These contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.
Which carbohydrates can you eat? When and if you do eat carbohydrates, it’s best to eat whole grains like brown rice, dalia/broken wheat, poha, oats, barley, millets like ragi rather than refined carbohydrates.
Online Indian Dietitian