Carbohydrates are the primary energy source in our bodies. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other carbohydrates are vital for our health and wellbeing as they provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber - all key to a long healthy life.
Carbohydrates consist of sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk products.
They are often being blamed for gaining weight. However, this is a myth. The only way to gain weight is to eat more calories than your body needs, which can happen if you consume high-calorie carb sources such as cookies, cake, and pastries. Choose fibrous foods since they can be very satiating because they take longer to digest and absorb and keeping you full for longer.
Simple carbohydrates are more easily digestible than ‘polysaccharides’ since the body can break them down rapidly. This means that you may feel less satisfied eating simple carbohydrates because they are quick to digest. Try to opt for starchy carbohydrates, those that are whole grain and high in fiber.
Complex carbohydrates are “larger” molecules thus take longer to digest. They are digested and absorbed slower, which can help control our insulin response, energy levels, and body composition. Examples of complex carbs are brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, sweet potato, barley, wholewheat pasta. Always try to consume whole grains and high fiber where possible. E.g., swap potato for sweet potato, swap white rice for brown rice, couscous for quinoa. These take longer to break down and are more fibrous and nutritious.
We recommend your carbohydrate consumption is 50-55%. These carbohydrates must be made up of the best sources.
- Vegetables (and root vegetables): Mushroom, peppers, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, butternut squash, broccoli, tomato, beetroot, corn, cabbage, turnip.
- Fruits: banana, melons, apples, grapes, berries, pineapple, pears, oranges, plums, peaches.
- Legumes & beans: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, quinoa, couscous, tabbouleh.
- Grains: oats, wholegrain rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal tortilla, etc.