A low carb diet can prove very beneficial for those who want to lose weight. But whether you're watching what you eat just to lose a few pounds, maintain health or follow a diabetic diet, a balance of what the body really needs should be kept in mind.
Carbohydrates in and of themselves are not always bad. Despite some negative opinions about them, carbs are considered by many health professionals as necessary for the body. In fact, it is still recommended that adults get about six servings of carbs a day to maintain health. This, of course, goes along with other necessary foods such as dairy products, proteins, fruits and vegetables and more.
The key to eating carbs and doing it right is to go for healthy carbs and not going for them in abundance. It's when they're eaten in excess that carbs cause problems. Since carbs are famous for their propensity to turn to sugar and eventually fat in the body, too much is not a good thing. Keep in mind though that too much of anything is never good.
Carbs are considered to come in two forms: simple or complex. The simple carbs are processed - white breads, cakes, cookies and so on. These turn quickly to sugar and are either used up fast or transform into fat. Complex carbs take longer to break down and generally offer more sound nutrition. Complex carbs are needed by the body to feed the brain and other vital organs.
Cutting carbs out of a diet is a fast way to lose weight, but it jeopardizes the body's nutritional balance. Going entirely without is almost never recommended, but that doesn't mean eating an entire loaf of bread is in order either. Remember that even diabetics are allowed and even encouraged to get a few servings of carbs a day and it becomes clear they aren't totally horrible.
Going the low carb route, however, can really do a body good. Not every sandwich needs two pieces of bread, or any bread for that matter. Healthier choices do exist and they taste good, too. Instead of two slices, try an open faced sandwich or even pita bread instead. In general, complex carbohydrates are good choices for inclusion in a healthy diet that when combined with exercise can result in weight loss, maintenance or even compliance with a medically set diet.
Here are some ideas of more healthful carb choices for those who want to go low carb, not no carb:
* Go with whole grains instead of processed. Whole wheat is always a better choice than processed flours. Wheat breads, oatmeal and others such grains still offer carb options, but the unprocessed flours take longer for the body to break down, which means they also take longer to turn to sugar in the body.
* Whole grain rice. White rice is fine once in a while, but go with long grain or wild most of the time. These are once again harder to break down and generally offer more nutrients than processed rice.
* Sweet potatoes.
* High fiber cereals.
* Beans and lentils.
Complex carbohydrates are not the enemy. In fact, carbs are part of a balanced diet. The trick is to eat healthier carbs and follow basic nutritional guidelines. A low carb diet can be healthy, but a total exclusion of them is not.
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