Are carbs good for you? Is a Keto diet healthy?
Low-carb diets have been popular for decades: Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Whole30, Mediterranean and more. Reducing carb intake, or cutting it out altogether, is thought to lead to weight loss, but is it true?
The news: Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a registered dietitian, told Insider that the correlation between low carbs and weight loss is a myth and may even be bad for your health. Insider says there’s “no good reason to reduce or eliminate carbs from your diet.”
- The Mayo Clinic recommends that carbohydrates make up 45-65% of the average person’s daily calorie intake.
Why are carbohydrates essential? The Mayo Clinic says carbohydrates contribute to your health in three main ways:
- Provide energy: Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body. When digested, they are broken down into simple sugars, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and used as energy.
- Immune Support: Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. It can also help fight obesity, types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Weight control: The Mayo Clinic states that fruits, vegetables, and a mixture of whole grains can help control your weight. The bulk of whole grains can help you feel fuller with fewer calories.
Healthy carbohydrates: According to the Harvard University School of Public Health, some carbohydrates are healthier than others. Processed white bread and pasta do not have the same nutritional value as brown rice, oats, quinoa and fruit.
- Other healthy carbohydrate foods, according to Healthline, include: buckwheat, bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, and chickpeas.
Are you eating enough carbs? Ludlam-Raine told Insider that there are four physical signs that you’re not eating enough carbs:
- Lack of energy: Since carbohydrates are your main source of fuel, a lack of them will make you tired.
- Brain fog: Your brain feeds on glucose, which is the product of broken down carbohydrates. Without eating carbs, you might have trouble concentrating or maintaining a good mood.
- Less energy for workouts: Insider says that “the body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the liver and muscles”. Without carbs, it will be harder to exercise, and those who lead active lifestyles should make sure to get enough of them in their diet.
- Difficulty recovering from workouts: Ludlam-Raine says your body needs to replenish glycogen stores after it’s been depleted by a workout. If you don’t eat enough carbs, it will be harder for you to recover after a long day at the gym.