Carbs—we love ‘em, we hate ‘em, we can’t live without ‘em. It’s a love story for the ages. They taste amazing, so loving them is the easy part. And they’re an essential macronutrient, which means we literally can’t live without them. But why all the hostility towards this premium energy source?
Well, maybe its haters are just getting it wrong. Below, we bust some myths about carbohydrates in an effort to clear its name. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of healthy carbs (and exactly how to get them)!
MYTH # 1: CARBS HAVE NO PLACE IN A TRULY HEALTHY DIET
THE TRUTH: This one’s obvious, but it bears repeating: your body needs energy. Energy comes from carbs. Therefore, carbs stay. It’s also true that not all carbs are created equal, so you’ll need to tread carefully. Avoid the simple carbohydrates: soda, sugary drinks, packaged foods, candies, baked goods, refined grains. Instead, be BFFs with complex carbohydrates—they’re the good guys.
THE BREAKDOWN: Unlike simple carbs, your body processes complex carbs slowly. The former gives you sudden spikes of energy that drains you quickly, whereas the latter provides a long-term, steady, and reliable energy source that keeps you from burning out. Plus, complex carbs also provide you with extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber!
WHAT TO EAT: Whole wheat grains, oats, brown rice, beans, quinoa, and veggies are awesome (and tasty!) fuel sources that won’t do you dirty. Swap out your usuals with their complex counterparts. Have ulam with brown rice or quinoa, supercharge your mornings with steel-cut oats, and ditch the white spaghetti for edamame noodles. You’ll hardly taste the difference, and your body will surely thank you for your efforts! TRY: Arrowhead Mills Organic Oatmeal Instant Hot Cereal (10oz), P355, Green Silo Organic Quinoa (2kg), P1,200, Wholly Grain Sorghum Grains (2kg), P320
MYTH # 2: CARBS WILL MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT
THE TRUTH: It’s not so much the carbs, but the calories that are the problem. That’s why consuming the right carbs and not overeating should be the real priorities when it comes to weight loss. Carbs, as a whole, get such a bad rap because simple carbs are calorically bloated but nutritionally empty. One guess as to which ones we tend to binge on without restraint? Uh-huh.
THE BREAKDOWN: The first rule of healthy weight loss is not starving yourself. So, the solution isn’t skipping meals and snacks or banning carbs completely. It’s knowing the right staples to stock your pantry with.
WHAT TO EAT: Instead of junky carbs that may taste great but feel awful, go for low-calorie, fiber-rich options instead. They’ll keep you full for much longer while promoting better digestion—and some of them are even super tasty. Stock up on trail mix, muesli oats, legumes, and seeds: filling, nutritious, and portable to boot. Whenever mid-day hunger strikes, just munch on a flavorful handful on-the-go!
TRY: The Good Seed Lentil Chips, P130, The Green Tummy I’m Nuts About You Trail Mix (140g), P199, ASAB Organics Pumpkin Seeds (80g), P110
MYTH # 3: CARBS MAKE YOU FEEL SLUGGISH AND GRUMPY
THE TRUTH: Again, you can blame simple carbs for that. Complex carbs actually do the opposite: aside from giving you a physical boost, they also take care of your mental energy.
THE BREAKDOWN: Complex carbs can help you think and process better, improving your mood to make you feel good overall. This is thanks to tryptophan, an amino acid that amps up your serotonin, the “feel-good hormone.” Eating enough of the right carbs encourages insulin release, making your body absorb amino acids much more effectively. In other words: happy hormones all the way!
WHAT TO EAT: It’s best to accompany foods rich in protein and iron (which also have tryptophan) with a generous dose of healthy carbs. Think of quick bites like nuts, seeds, and oats as your cure to the dreaded 3PM slump! TRY: The Superfood Grocer Coconola Vegan Granola Clusters Tropical Medley (200g), P249, The Cracking Monkey Ready-To-Eat Sprouted Pili Nuts in Shell (220g), P199, Hearth Nuts for Nuts Trail Mix, P130
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