Carbs are widely feared in this country. I hear low carb, Atkins and paleo supporters talking about how bad it is to eat carbs and how protein is the key to health. This is actually kind of absurd because we humans truly thrive on carbs and need them for our brain and body to function well. Let’s have a look at the top myths about carbs and why they are wrong:
1.Carbs are way less essential than protein: actually, the opposite is true. While we need protein to repair our muscles and tissues, excess amounts of protein need to be eliminated by our body. Americans tend to eat too much protein because the media and dietary recommendations have done a poor job explaining that we all don’t need that much protein and that plant based foods provide sufficient sources of protein for us. Our body will try to get rid of excess protein through our kidneys and liver, which makes these organs work extra hard and can lead to organ failure. Excess protein also harms our bones as we excrete increased amounts of calcium through our urine and hence become more likely to suffer from diseases like osteoporosis.
2.Carbs cause diabetes: the opposite is true! Eating healthy unprocessed carbs can actually reverse diabetes (type 2). This is especially true for starches such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, corn and beans. Simply put, these unprocessed starchy carbs balance and stabilize blood sugar levels as they don’t make it peak (like refined and processed sugars do)
3.Carbs make you fat: the truth is that fat makes you fat and by that I mean excess fat. You need a healthy amount of fat to absorb nutrients in your foods such as certain fat soluble vitamins and to keep hormonal functions going. However, excess fat is stored by the body, whereas excess carbs are burned through us being active
4.Carbs don’t keep you full: complex unprocessed carbs, which are the ones you should be eating, such as sweet potatoes, grains and beans, keep you full for hours as they are also high in fiber. It takes the body time to digest them and fuel you throughout the day so you will be feeling satiated for
If you want to learn more about the wonderful benefits of carbs, check out Dr John A. McDougall and his work (The Starch Solution).