Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. Recently, they have become everyone's favorite macronutrient to hate. Conventional thinking says that cutting carbs out of your diet will lead to weight loss. The only reason that a low carb diet leads to weight loss is because of calorie reduction. Carbs cause weight gain in the same way that fats and proteins do. When you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. It makes no difference whether the excess calories come from fats, proteins or carbs. Because carbs have such an important role in the body, there are much better options than cutting them all out of your diet. A better option is to eliminate bad carbs while keeping good ones in your diet.
1. Candy. Candy is nothing more than pure sugar. Though it tastes good, candy is digested very quickly. This quick digestion will leave you feeling hungry soon after you finish eating it, even if you eat a large amount of it at a time. Candy is just empty calories; it contains nothing but energy. It's not a source of fiber, vitamins or minerals which makes it a very unhealthy option.
2. White Flours. Like sugar, white flour is digested very quickly. It's made by removing the part of the wheat that contains the most nutrients. Vitamins, minerals and fiber are all lost during the processing which causes them to also be digested and absorbed very quickly. When buying bread or pasta, make sure that the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label is 100% whole wheat flour.
3. Soda. Soda is just as bad as candy. It's actually liquid candy which is absorbed even faster. With its high calorie content, it won't keep you full for long and you'll be eating again in no time. Soda is also made from empty calories which gives you no positive health benefits. Replacing soda with water will help lower your daily calorie intake and get rid of some unwanted weight.
4. Pastries. Baked goods (doughnuts, pies, cakes) are a combination of bad carbohydrates all rolled into one neat package. They are usually made with white flour and plenty of sugar. Nutrients are scarce in both of these ingredients which makes these items a very unhealthy food choice.
5. Milk Chocolate. While dark chocolate has been shown to contain antioxidants, most people go for the milk chocolate which is loaded with sugar and saturated fat. It wouldn't be that unhealthy but portion control is often ignored. Having a piece of chocolate every few days won't kill you, in fact it might even be healthy for you (if you're eating dark chocolate). Having an entire bar once a day is a different story.
The Bottom Line
Carbohydrates are very important to your body, and without them, functioning properly becomes much more difficult. By targeting bad sources of carbohydrates, you will be able to improve your overall health and cut your calorie intake in a responsible way.