Carbohydrates

Fatigued, tired or lacking concentration…

Have you been cutting carbs?

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are vital at every stage of life. They are the body’s preferred energy source and fuel vital organs – including the brain, central nervous system and kidneys.

Carbohydrates include:

  • Starches or complex carbohydrates – legumes, rice, wheat, grains, cereals
  • Sugars – glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose and maltose
  • Dietary fibre – wholegrain foods, vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts and seeds

When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into a sugar molecule called glucose. Glucose is our brain and body’s preferred energy source (yes, our brain can only run off carbs, how cool!). So, if you’ve ever tried reducing your carbohydrate intake and felt fatigued, tired, and lacking concentration and motivation, that’s why.

Why do we need carbs?

1. They provide us with energy

Eating too little carbohydrate may lead to low blood sugar levels – called ‘hypoglycaemia’, leaving you feeling weak and lightheaded. It can also affect concentration as your brain needs a good supply of fuel to think and learn. Hypoglycaemia is a particular risk for people with diabetes and very active sportspeople.

2. Carbohydrates are a major source of fibre in our diet

Most Australians continually fail to consume the recommended amount of fibre per day, increasing our risk of bowel associated diseases. Eating enough fibre helps to keep our digestive system regular and has been proven to increase the diversity in the bacteria found in our gut. Wholegrain carbohydrates are high in fibre and help to keep us full which helps with weight control. There is also evidence to suggest a high fibre diet helps to reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.

3. Carbohydrates contain a range of essential vitamins and minerals

Ditching carbs might mean that you miss out on key vitamins, minerals and phytocompounds that are essential for optimal health and well-being.

4. Carbohydrates are delicious!

Carbohydrates are super versatile and are a great addition to almost every meal. Carbs often get a bad rap, but if you eat mindfully and watch your portions, they are a tasty and versatile addition to almost every meal. Try adding some quinoa to a salad, fruit as an afternoon snack or legumes to curries.

Carbohydrates in food

Eat Less Carbs

 Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods, including:

  • Grains
  • Legumes (or beans)
  • Dairy
  • Fruit
  • Starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, sweet potato, beans, corn).
  • Processed or refined foods (such as white bread, white rice, hot chips).
  • Sugary sweets (such as biscuits, cakes and lollies).

Being able to recognise healthier carbs can help you to make better food choices. Carbohydrates with lower glycaemic indexes (or GI) have a slower and more sustained blood glucose response. They take longer to digest and can help us feel full. Lower GI foods are less refined (or processed) such as wholegrains, legumes and fruit.

The healthiest sources of carbohydrates (EAT MORE OF THESE) include unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fibre, and a host of important phytonutrients.

Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates (EAT LESS OF THESE) include white bread, pastries, soft drinks, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that if consumed too regularly may contribute to weight gain and risk of other chronic disease.

How much do you need?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend 45–65% of energy needs to come from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are fattening

Avoid Carbs at night

Avoid Carbs

How Lite n’ Easy can help!

The single most important dietary change you can make to be healthier is to eat five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit each day. But it can be hard, which is why Lite n’ Easy’s complete meal solutions are the way to go. You’ll get to eat the right foods in the right portions throughout the day and get your daily 5+2 simply by enjoying our complete solution with a huge range of delicious meals. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or click here to order now.

 

Larissa Robbins, APD Dietitian at Lite n' Easy