For whatever reason, the topic of carbohydrates fuels a firestorm of controversy. Look anywhere on the Internet, and you will find a preponderance of carbohydrate criticism and vilification. It’s true that not all carbs are the same. The carbs which should be emphasized for health are the complex carbohydrates. These carbs are high in nutrient density. Complex carbs include lentils, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
20 guilt-free reasons to eat nutrient dense carbs
- They provide a rich source of B-complex vitamins not found in other food categories.
- In the form of fruits and vegetables, they are an excellent source of vitamin C
- Complex carbs provide significant sources of potassium.
- They are naturally low in fat.
- Potentially health protecting phytonutrients are found almost exclusively in complex carbs.
- Complex carbs are high in fiber to aid digestion and prevent constipation.
- Fiber-rich complex carbs aid in blood glucose control.
- Complex carbs fill you up and help you stick with a weight loss diet.
- Sufficient carbohydrates prevent ketosis.
- Carbohydrates spare the protein to function in growth, healing, and repair.
- When decreasing carbs, you then need to increase your calories from another nutrient such as animal protein, which in excessive amounts may weaken bones.
- Cut your carbs, then you need to increase your calories from other nutrients such as fat, which may lead to plaque build up on your arteries.
- A low carbohydrate intake might increase cortisol levels. This may increase risk of some cancers.
- A low carbohydrate intake might lead to an increased animal protein intake, which can increase painful gout.
- You need carbohydrates in your diet to make glycogen.This is your storage fuel for endurance athletic events and can be a fuel source if food is not available.
- Dairy products are nutrient dense carbohydrates which have important nutrients for strong bones and normal blood pressure.
- Most Americans do not consume enough magnesium. Many good sources of magnesium are complex carbs like spinach, bran cereal, beans, lentils, and dairy products.
- Strong bones need more than just calcium. And, many of the nutrients necessary for strong bones-vitamin K, various B vitamins, and magnesium are readily available from complex carbs.
- As food, they create less of a carbon footprint than growing animals to eat.
- They are satisfying and taste good!
For these reasons, emphasizing unprocessed nutrient dense carbs such as lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables, fat-free dairy, and whole grain foods is not controversial, it is intelligent eating for the 21st century.