When we are looking to lose weight we tend to adjust our diet and the first thing many of us decide is to eliminate carbs. But doing this can be dangerous. Extremely low-carb diets can lead to depression, plateaued fat loss and even an increase in cancer and disease risk. This isn't to say all low-carb diets are bad, but you need to educate yourself on the many advantages of consuming carbs rather than eliminating them. Below is a list of carb benefits from the Poliquin Group to help you find a carb diet that is right for you.
Easier Fat Loss
If your goal is to lose weight than certain carbs should be eliminated from your diet. Carbs in the form of raw and cooked vegetables and fruit should be included in your diet since these foods contain minimal calories and a lot of water and fibre Vegetable carbs give you more nutrients per calorie and the fibre will make you feel fuller so you don't eat as much. To lose weight you want to avoid carbs such as grains, sugar and anything processed or in a package such as bread, cookies, crackers. Opt instead for green vegetables and dark-coloured fruits and berries.
Easier Maintenance of Body Composition
A good carb intake from whole foods will make it much easier for you to keep your body composition – once you reach your ideal fat and muscle proportions. Carbs can also help you maintain muscle because they help balance cortisol, particularly after a workout.
Carbohydrates are a great tool for athletes because the higher carb consumption allows them to feel and perform better than a low-carb diet. For combat and precision sports, carbs can activate the central nervous system drive in the brain for better focus and strength. One study found that elite female gymnasts, for example, who take a carb solution after a workout, had fewer falls during balance beam exercises than those gymnasts who didn’t.
Carbs increase total calories, which are necessary for a fast recovery from intense workouts. But be smart with your post-workout carb intake. Many will binge on carbs after exercising, which will simply lead to fat gain. Try eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy or berries and grapes that will counter inflammation and reduce muscle soreness. Pineapple, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes are all favourable carbs for your post-workout snack.
Certain carbs can actually reduce risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease because they provide plant fibre, which has repeatedly been shown to dramatically reduce certain disease risks such as colon, stomach and intestinal cancers while improving cardiovascular heath. Avoid refined carbs and sugar and opt instead for veggies and fruit. Mango, kiwi and all dark-coloured fruits and veggies such as cherries, pomegranates, blackberries, collards and green chard are all packed with beneficial nutrients to reduce cancer risk.
Better Mood and Improved Sleep
Low-carb diets do not allow for adequate production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. That's why many people on low-carb diets complain of sleep trouble. Serotonin allows for a restful sleep and helps you feel good and motivated.