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Know your carbs

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Carbohydrates are usually found in wholesome bread, fresh vegetables, and pasta. As one of our body’s main energy-sources, they are essential to any healthy diet. But carbs do not always get the credit they deserve. Discover the distinct types of carbs and their role in a balanced diet.

You do not need to feel guilty about eating carbs, a significant source of the energy that powers our bodies. Typically, we should get about half our energy from them. In fact, our muscles and brain crave carbs to function properly and starving yourself of these essential nutrients can do more harm than good. But what are carbs and where can we find them? 

Choose your carbs carefully 

Carbs are a vital to a balanced diet because they are converted into glucose or blood sugar, the body’s most important energy source. However, not all carbs are created equal; some are more beneficial than others, why it is important to choose them carefully. 

There are two types of carbs you need to know about: simple and complex.  

Complex carbs, which also include fibre, are found in wholegrain cereals, oats, nuts, fruit, berries, beans, and root vegetables. Because of their complex molecular structure, it takes your body longer time to digest them, resulting in a steady flow of energy and stable blood sugar levels. (Moreover, it should be remembered that the fibres from a variety of foods are essential for the well-being of the intestinal microbiota.) 

Simple carbs are usually found in sugary foods and fizzy drinks. They are quickly converted to glucose, supplying the body with an almost instant burst of energy. Such carbs can, for example, be useful after an intense workout when your muscle glycogen levels are low and need to be restored. Daily, however, it is recommended that you stick to complex carbs for sustainable energy levels. 

Versatility is the key to a balanced diet 

Nordic Nutrition Recommendations advise that we get 45–60% of our energy intake from carbs. After all, the brain needs at least 130 grams of carbs to function effectively.  

The key to a balanced diet is versatility. It is important to eat healthy to get all the essential vitamins and nutrients. So, consider where you get your carbs from and check the bread packaging for fibre, whole grains, and seeds as those make your bread more nutritionally fulfilling.