Carbs are good for you. Yes, you. No, not just if you’re an athlete or do ridiculous amounts of exercise. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the human body.
Here’s some science for you to digest: “[Carbs are] broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, the glucose enters the body’s cells . . . Glucose is used by your body for energy, fuelling all of your activities, whether going for a run or simply breathing” according to the National Health Center.
So if carbs are energy, why do they get a bad rep? The answer boils down to two societal issues. Fat-phobia and diet culture.
Fat-phobia is the cultural belief that people in larger bodies are lazy, greedy or morally wrong. This actually affects the way society views carbs. Glucose that can’t be stored as glycogen is stored as fat for later use. Scientifically speaking, this is a beautiful adaptation of the human body because it is programmed to keep us alive. The subconscious (or conscious) fear or judgment around fat, due to unrealistic and warped beauty standards, leads us to fear fat storage and consequently plays a role in our cultural judgement of carbohydrates.
Diet culture has a field day with this. Let me start by saying that the diet industry is the one industry that provides a product (the diet) that fails the consumer, while making the consumer feel that they failed the product. Many people regain weight loss after dieting because the body is designed for survival; it slows down the metabolism and raises levels of hunger hormones (ghrelin) while decreasing fullness hormones (leptin). Although their bodies are working properly, dieters feel as if they’ve failed, spending more money on a new program that will only perpetuate the cycle.
The keto-diet is a popular low-carb diet. Industries make millions on “keto-friendly” snacks and meals. The diet was actually designed to be a treatment for children with epilepsy, but it has become fashionable amongst the masses because depriving the body of its main source of energy (resulting in rapid weight loss) is fashionable.
This weight loss should not be confused with health. Because the body is in a state of ketosis, low blood pressure, kidney stones, nutrient deficiencies and constipation are all possible side effects.
Don’t fear carbs because society tells you to. They are a biological necessity for the human body. I believe the path to a healthy body is listening to your hunger, fullness and cravings without judgment. Why? The human body has made it thousands of years due to these very signals! It knows what it’s doing, so stop letting misinformation get in the way.