Good Carbs v. Bad: The Showdown

Blog Entry #103

By Anthoney J. Andersen –

When it comes to our diet, carbohydrates have often been given a bad reputation.  What you may not know is that certain carbs are essential to a healthy diet.  However, you may be confused on what constitutes a good carb and a bad.

Don’t worry, help has arrived.

Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are three macronutrients that are essential in every balanced diet.  While fats and protein are responsible for certain bodily functions – that includes body tissues and insulation – carbs provide calories that are necessary for the production of energy.

Carbs come in several forms and are grouped into two categories: complex and simple.  Complex carbs are the good carbohydrates and consist of a chemical structure that is made up of three or more sugars linked together to form a chain.  These sugars are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Simple carbs, or bad carbs, include table sugar, fructose, fruit sugar or corn syrup.  The body breaks down these carbohydrates too quickly to furnish the body with an adequate source of nutrients.

According to MayoClinic, the best source of complex carbohydrates includes fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and beans.  In addition to fruits and vegetables, the good carbs can be obtained from whole grain cereals, whole wheat breads, brown rice, pasta and black beans.

As recommended by the Harvard School of Public Health, it’s best to choose good carbohydrates over a low-carb diet or no-carb diet.  If you are currently on a low-carb diet, then you run the risk of having your body enter ketosis, which is a medical condition that occurs when fats are not completely broken down.

The side effects of ketosis include weakness, nausea, dehydration and dizziness.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, always keep in mind that your body needs a balance diet of essential nutrients.  It’s never good to completely eliminate something as vital as carbohydrates, just like it isn’t healthy to overload your body with a particular nutrient either.

Stay healthy.