The nutrients your body needs in the largest quantity are referred to as macronutrients or “Macros” which include carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Carbohydrates are further categorized as simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can be broken down quickly by the body and generally come from food sources such as fruit, milk, milk products, and processed foods with added sugar. Complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to break down and come from foods such as starchy vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommends adults consume at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day for good health. The National Institute of Health elaborates on the recommendation by suggesting that 45-65% of a healthy active adult’s total calories should come from carbohydrates. Therefore, someone consuming 2,000 calories per day should be taking in 225g- 325g of carbohydrates per day.
Most “low carb" diets suggest people intake 50-150 grams of carbohydrates. The Keto Diet recommends people consume as little as 20 grams and no more than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is alarming considering the vital role carbohydrates play in the body.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for your central nervous system, which controls most functions of the body and mind. It provides energy for working muscles, allows protein to be used to build muscle instead of being converted into an energy source, and enables fat metabolism. In fact the Food and Nutrition Board’s minimum recommendation of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day are based on the amount of energy your brain needs from carbohydrates. Researchers are finding that carbohydrates play a vital role in your brain's function, especially as it comes to your mood, which can be illustrated by typing “low carb memes” into a any search engine!
On a more serious note low carb diets are not sustainable. Although they can result in short term weight reduction, it often leads to yo-yo dieting long term. Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and add fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains to your shopping cart. It provides you with simple and complex carbohydrates along with other important nutrients to optimize your health!
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