There are some “diets” that have gained notoriety in the last several years that suggest we avoid carbohydrates. But carbs-as-evil is a huge misconception. Carbs are the gas in your gas tank! They are essential for boosting energy and improving your mood and emotional state. In fact, carbohydrates are what the body likes to use best as fuel.
The Canada Food Guide suggests that two-thirds of our food should be carbs. But not just any carbs will do the job.
We need to minimize the amount of sugar-laden fuel we eat, such as cookies, candy, cakes, and regular pop. Check labels in the grocery for the amount of sugars listed. Often there is a lot of hidden sugar in food products (ketchup, for example). These types of food will spike your blood sugar, giving you temporary energy, but soon you may experience a “crash” in energy levels. That’s because these simple sugars won’t give you the sustained, longer-term energy boost that complex carbs can. Simple carbs are like fireworks – they give off a big bang, and then fade quickly.
Whole grains in cereals and breads are a great example of good carb nutrition. Our bodies process these foods at a slower pace than simple carbs, and so we feel satisfied longer. Complex carbs stabilize our energy level and help us to avoid the nose-dive into fatigue and irritability that comes after taking in simple carbs.