Benefits of a Carbohydrate Rich Diet
A very popular weight loss concept today encourages the avoidance of a high carbohydrate diet. By eliminating complex carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar – or glucose- we are restricting the body’s preferred fuel source. This leaves the body with no choice but to switch from burning sugar to burning fat so that faster and more rapid weight loss will be achieved. While having the body in this fat burning state may be considered beneficial as suggested by specific diet plans, there are definite concerns that arise when carbohydrates are being consumed in very minimal amounts or not at all.
If this occurs on the long term, for example, on calorie restricted or low carb diets, a process called starvation ketosis occurs. While weight loss may result, the health risks such as organ damage, kidney failure, brain injury (and in serious cases result in coma or death) are not worth damaging your overall health. It’s also common to see the pounds that have been shed return once the diet is no longer being followed.
In past experiences, I’ve noted the importance of differentiating between the two types of carbs. There are the simple carbs which mainly come from refined sugars and starches such as white rice, pasta, breads and commercially baked goods. They offer us zilch for nutritional value as most of the important nutrients are removed during the refining process. With the absence of fibre, their sugars are released very quickly into our blood stream. Consuming these types of carbs make our bodies work harder to keep us in balance and are not an ideal choice to sustain hunger since we don’t have those nutrients. So yes, these carbs are good to avoid!
Complex carbohydrates are the opposite. I’m referring to fruits such as pears, apples and berries, whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and spelt, starchy vegetables such as yams and carrots, potatoes, leafy greens, beans and legumes.
These carbs are good guys and play many different roles in the body. They are packed with nutrients. Complex carbs contain fibre along with important vitamins and minerals which help the body detoxify, prevent illness and disease and provide us with long lasting energy. They keep you fuller on the long term, aid in digestion and thus, can lead to weight loss! These are just a few reasons why I consider them essential for optimal health and therefore should not be avoided.
When following diets with very high amounts of protein and fat (which are acidifying to the body when metabolized) and not enough fruits and vegetables to balance them out, the state of the body becomes acidic and nutrients are not properly absorbed.
An acidic body is susceptible to experiencing health symptoms and is the ideal state for illness to set in.
It’s also likely for carb cravings to result over time when the body is not getting the nutrients it’s asking for. This can likely lead to carb and/or sugar binges which pose negative impacts on both physical and psychological levels.
That being said, I truly believe that a diet balanced in protein, good quality fats and complex carbohydrates is a healthful way to achieve weight loss without enduring unnecessary health risks. Keeping your body in balance with a variety of nutrients from a variety of different foods is essential to your long term optimal health & well-being.