Carbs are good, carbs are bad.
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap. You will hear that you need to cut carbs to stay fit. This is definitely not the case. Every single person needs carbohydrates. In fact carbohydrates are the macronutrient we need the most of. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA, we need our diet to be 45-65% carbohydrates.
That means if you are taking in a 2,000 calorie diet you would want 900 to 1,300 of your calories to come from carbohydrates. Remember that carbs provide 4 calories per gram so that means you should get between 225-325 grams of carbs a day.
So why do we need carbohydrates?
Carbs = energy! Every cell in your body needs glucose (end breakdown of all carbohydrates) for energy.
Carbs allow our nervous system, kidneys, brain, and all muscles including your heart to work properly.
Eating enough carbs will stop protein from being used for energy, preventing muscle breakdown.
Carbs provide us with fiber, helping out our digestive tract.
And let’s face it carbs are delicious! They can add great flavor to a meal.
Where are carbohydrates found?
So many different foods contain carbs. We find them in grain products like bread, rice, cereal, pancakes, waffles, and pitas to name a few. They are also found in fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products like yogurt and cottage cheese.
So if you think you want to avoid carbs you can see you would have to give up a lot of great foods and food groups. Not such a smart idea! Instead, focus on choosing smart carbs. Smart carbs are ones with naturally occurring fiber and little to no added sugars. Here a few examples examples of smart carbs and carbs you want to cut down on.