Carbohydrates. The word seems to be the arch nemesis for anyone who is trying to lose weight. The fact is they are not as bad for you as you might think. Matter of fact they are actually good for you.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
Simple carbs are not all bad depending on where you get them. Fruits and vegetables are simple carbs composed of essential vitamins, minerals and basic sugars. They are drastically different than simple carbs loaded with refined sugars that are heavily processed like soda, potato chips, candy, cookies, and sweeteners. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which is good for digestion. Pears, apples, and berries are examples of high fiber fruit.
Complex carbs typically have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared to simple carbs. They are considered good as long as they are whole grain, and not processed grains like white rice, pasta, and baked goods that are made with white flour. Examples of complex carbs include:
Bread. Yes bread as long as it's made from a whole grain source like whole wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
Starchy vegetables: sweet and white potatoes, acorn and butternut squash, beets, parsnips, and carrots
Grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, kamut, farro, and bulgar wheat
Beans: white, black, red, garbanzo, pinto, kidney, and lentils
Humans have been eating carbohydrates for hundreds of years for a reason, they provide us with energy and our brain needs them to function properly. To me the big take away here is fiber. Fiber gives us satiety, and when you are full you tend not to eat as much. Fiber is also important for digestion, and the only place to get fiber is from carbohydrates.
Do I think low carb diets are bad? Not always. People who are morbidly obese or have type 2 diabetes can certainly benefit from a low carb diet. In some cases it could possibly help save their lives. At the end of the day a proper balance of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) is essential, and like most things in life moderation is key.
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