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A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide To Carbohydrates

Dec 08, 2023

In simple scientific terms, carbohydrates refer to sugar molecules that break down into glucose, which serve as a primary energy source for our body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Carbohydrates are usually associated with negativity and weight gain, which unfortunately leads to many people restricting their carbohydrate intake. However, in truth, carbohydrates serve as the body's preferred fuel source, offering essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Broadly, carbohydrates can be categorised into two types – complex carbohydrates, present in foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, and simple carbohydrates, found in refined white grains and fruits.

REFINED CARBS VS. WHOLE FOOD CARBS

Refined Carbs: Refined carbohydrates are carbs that have had most of their nutrients and fibre removed during processing. This processing makes them rapidly digestible and quickly raises blood sugar levels, providing the body with a short burst of energy.  

Whole Food Carbs: Whole food carbohydrates are less processed and usually in their “whole” form, such as a potato straight out of the ground. Due to this, their natural nutrients provide nutritional benefits as well as stable energy. Whole food carbs also naturally contain fibre to aid in digestion, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep blood sugar levels stable. 

CARBOHYDRATE MYTHS

1. Fruit is bad because its high in carbs

It's true that fruits contain carbohydrates, primarily in the form of natural sugars such as fructose. However, it's crucial to differentiate between naturally occurring sugars in whole fruits and the added sugars found in processed foods. The carbs in fruit also come along with nourishing vitamins, minerals and fibre - unlike processed carbohydrate foods like pastries.

2. Carbs make you "fat"

A long misconstrued misconception is that carbs should be feared as they cause weight gain. When consumed in appropriate amounts, they fuel our daily activities and contribute to overall health. The key is to choose the right kinds of carbs and understand the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates. Whole-food carbs provide essential nutrients and fibre. On the other hand, refined carbs should be moderated.

In summary, carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source, with complex carbs from whole foods providing essential nutrients and fibre. Refined carbs, lacking in nutritional value, contribute to misconceptions about weight gain. It's crucial to choose the right carbs—favouring whole foods over processed ones—to maintain overall health and sustained energy levels.

By Breeanna Betar

Breeanna is a degree qualified Clinical Nutritionist specialising in women’s health. In her private clinic, she works one on one with women to help them achieve their health goals. Bree possesses a profound understanding of women’s health needs and is committed to sharing her knowledge with the Naked Harvest community, and is proud to be involved in Naked Harvest’s mission of revolutionising the active supplement industry.