Recent times have seen an increase in the number of people who have become health conscious. Consequently, they have also become more weight conscious. Unlike in the yesteryears where 3 proper, filling meals a day was considered the ultimate elixir of life, a conspicuous mind shift has come by in people in this regard. Be it wholesome meals or the intake of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, or fiber, what goes in and in what proportions is being prioritized to ensure the outcome does not affect one’s health or weight adversely. This article throws light on carbs, the role it plays as an essential nutrient and how it affects one’s weight and health in the long run.
What Are Carbs
Carbohydrates or carbs can be considered as the fuel that our body needs to function properly. They are made of units of sugar. Carbs are required for the proper and smooth function of our central nervous system, kidneys, brain, and others. They are the main source that provides energy to our body. Owing to the high value that this essential nutrient holds they are referred to as macronutrients as our body needs them in large numbers for healthy sustenance. The food we eat is the best source of carbohydrates that we can provide our bodies and can be found in legumes, beans, fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, yogurt, pasta, baked food, etc.
There are 2 types of carbohydrates that our body needs known as simple carbohydrates, found in simple sugars, and complex carbohydrates found in fibrous and starchy food. The former consists of monosaccharides and disaccharides, while the latter consists of a more complex network of sugar units. Sugar is obtained from the sweet treats we indulge in but is best done in moderation. Starch is obtained from food like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc which are derived from plants. Fiber is obtained from fruits and vegetables, pulses, and others.
Apart from being a major source of energy that our body needs to function properly, listed below are some other vital functions of carbohydrates that makes it an important nutrient in our body:
- Carbs are needed for most basic yet highly significant functions like mobility
- It enhances our cognitive skills
- Our muscles, brain, nervous system all need carbs in proper amounts daily for growth and development
- They are vital for the structural and functional properties of tissues, organs, and cells
- They help to regulate blood sugar levels by assisting in the addition or removal of glucose in the bloodstream as and when needed.
- It helps to boost digestion
- Helps to enhance gut health
Based on chemical structures, dietary function, and source, carbohydrates are also known as sugars, resistant starch, prebiotics, dietary fiber, etc.
Common Causes Of Weight Gain
The agelong saying goes as “Prevention is better than cure”, but somehow people always have a general tendency to first take a wrong turn and then try and better themselves. So is the case with weight gain. Most people make wrong lifestyle choices and end up gaining weight in an unhealthy manner and before they realize it their health would have gone for a toss. Listed below are some common reasons as to why people gain weight:
- Excessive consumption of junk food, aerated drinks, etc
- Snacking frequently to curb hunger pangs
- Not consuming a wholesome, balanced diet
- Lack of daily exercising and workout routine
- Drinking an inadequate amount of water or fluid throughout the day
- Lack of proper sleep and rest
- Being overly stressed and worried
- Neglecting one’s health and general well-being
- The existence of undetected and underlying health conditions
- Hormonal imbalances
- Genetic conditions
Are Carbs And Weight Gain Interrelated?
The intake of carbs is often considered a debatable topic as some people argue that carbs induce weight gain whilst others dispute it to be the exact opposite, blaming the weight gain aspect only on calories. In reality, the truth lies with the latter group of people. This is because, just as with all forms of essential nutrients that are to be mandatory portions of your daily meals, carbs also need to be consumed in the right amount. The type of carbs consumed also plays a key role. For instance, foods like pasta, potato, etc. are rich in carbs however the starch in them can induce weight gain if consumed excessively. Likewise, certain food types with complex carbohydrates in them, that tend to be dense in calories, can also induce weight gain if sensible portions of it are not consumed. So, the key point for a person who likes to indulge in their carbs is to aim to suffice their cravings by consuming carbs in moderate proportions. In this way, they can enjoy eating their carbs yet be careful not to gain weight.
Also, one should be mindful that completely avoiding carbs from their diet comes with its perils. Nutritionists and health experts never encourage a weight-loss aspirant to skip carbs completely however, they do recommend consuming carbs in moderation. Cutting down on carbs does help reduce cravings to some extent but it should never be completely omitted from the diet. The popular keto diet that seems to have gripped the majority of masses in recent times has had its own share of health issues. Many people experienced a common side-effect termed as ‘keto-flu, which arose as a result of completely omitting carbs from the diet, as the plan calls for it.
Some common health issues that arise as a result of completely omitting carbs from one’s diet includes:
- Heart diseases
- General weakness
Pointers To Bear In Mind
The following pointers will help a person to safely indulge in their carb cravings but sensibly so:
- Remember that moderation is the key. Excessive calorie intake translates to undoubted weight gain so be mindful of what goes in.
- Avoid deep-fried carb indulgences as much as possible. Potato chips and the likes are a no-no if u want to lose weight
- Scan labels on food packets. This way you can be mindful of what calories and in how much amount you are consuming.
- Consume balanced, wholesome meals but practice portion control.
- Add cut fruits and raw vegetables as integral parts of every meal. Salads need not be boring, go fun with the dressing and indulge in it happily.
- Regardless of what you eat and what diet you follow make daily exercising a habitual routine.
- Consume home-cooked food as much as possible and make takeaways an occasional indulgence.
- Drink plenty of water and java burn coffee to keep your body aptly hydrated throughout the day.
- Get proper sleep and rest as both are important to not just stay healthy but also to contribute to maintaining an optimal weight.
In short, one can conclude that consuming carbs does not promote weight gain. Carbs are a very important part of our diet and so one must eat their carbohydrates to maintain health and sustenance in the long run. However, if one consumes carbs excessively and more often than needed then there is a sure-shot chance that it will add to one’s calorie intake and consequently on one’s body weight. If one is unsure of how much carbs are present in their food then they can download calorie tracker apps on their smart devices and track the same or approach a certified nutritionist. In this way, they can enjoy their healthy indulgences as well as keep weight gain concerns at bay.