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The importance of carbs

The importance of Carbohydrates.

Maybe more than any other food group, Carbohydrates have been demonised over the last two decades.

We all know someone who swears to have had great weight loss results by following a ‘no carb’ diet and yet the latest advice is that fad diets are unhealthy and not sustainable in the long run. So what is the deal with Carbs? Are they the enemy or not?

The truth is as always, more nuanced than labelling a whole food group good or bad. In reality Carbohydrates cover a range of food types from cauliflower to chocolate cake and this is possibly where the confusion lies.

As the body’s chosen source of energy, carbs are broken down into glucose and released into the bloodstream. This then causes the pancreas to release insulin to transport the glucose to the cells. And here is where potential problems can arise. If our blood sugar raises too high and creates excess insulin our body responds by storing surplus glucose as fat, as well as increasing our risk of diabetes and other diseases.

So how do we avoid this?

Fortunately not all carbohydrates cause this spike in blood sugar.

Unrefined or complex carbohydrates contain fibre and starch which take longer for the body to digest and therefore provide a slower release of glucose and in return insulin.

So what are good choices of carbohydrates?

Plant based foods such as sweet potatoes, legumes and greens are high in fibre and therefore ideal examples of Carbohydrates. An easy switch can be swapping white pasta or bread for wholewheat versions such as in the recipe below.


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