Are Carbohydrates Bad?
Finding good carbohydrates isn’t just easy—it’s critically important! Carbs are your body’s primary fuel!
People who think for themselves should dismiss as quackery any fad diet that advocates for avoiding them. The good ones are in the best plant foods on this planet: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans/legumes.
In Babylon, that’s what the Bible’s Daniel and his friends ate, complex carbs, finding strength and vigor and leanness after 10 days avoiding the king’s meat and wine. After three years, the king found them 10 times better in wisdom than the most learned men in the kingdom.
The idea promoted especially by the late Dr. Robert Atkins, that we should avoid carbs, is a dangerous notion that defies nature, outlaws very nutritious foods, and promotes over-consumption of animal products that are closely linked to disease. The idea of manipulating the body into “ketosis” (denying the body carbs to increase fat burning) is an unnatural condition, the effects of which have not been studied.
You have available to you much more natural and safe, and equally effective, ways to lose weight without hurting your body. Like eating a natural, whole-foods diet high in low-calorie, high-fiber foods like greens, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
Finding good carbs is important if you want a healthy diet, since they provide the body with fuel for physical activity and proper organ function. The best sources of carbs deliver essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. They are “high octane” fuel, the most desirable energy source.
If you don’t get enough carbohydrates, your body takes from protein and fat to supply necessarily glucose. When you’ve depleted your stored glucose in muscle and lean tissue, your body will burn muscles and organs to supply energy. Then, your basal metabolic rate drops because you have less lean muscle burning calories, and your body reacts to perceived starvation by slowing down metabolism and other functions.
Much has been studied recently about glycemic load, which is how fast and how far foods spike blood sugar. The carbs to avoid are french fries, refined breads, cereals, white rice and pasta, juices, and cookies, candy, cake, etc. Baked potatoes should be eaten only sparingly, with plenty of non-starchy vegetables in the meal. But oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice, high-fiber vegetables and fruits, bran cereals, and legumes are low- and medium-glycemic index foods that are part of an excellent diet.
Carbohydrates are good food—if they’re not refined!
Finding good carbs is vital, and they have been consumed plentifully by the longest-living cultures of the world for millenia. They are critically important building blocks of life, and in their natural and whole state, they should be consumed plentifully for energy and vitality. We should avoid them only when they are processed and refined, such as in the case of white flour (wheat with the bran and germ removed). We should also limit concentrated sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, etc.)—even when they are unrefined—to avoid risk for disease such as diabetes.