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Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

Guide to Complex Carbohydrates

Guide to Complex Carbohydrates

Over the past ten years or so, it appears that Americans have been at war with carbohydrates. There have been diets that have gained popularity that have completely eliminated this entire food genre from millions of people's lives. The thought behind these diets is that carbs will make you gain wait so that if you do not eat them, and eat mostly protein, you will lose weight. However, carbohydrates do serve a good purpose in your body and you should not be afraid of them. This guide will explain to you what they are, why they are good for you body, and how you can healthily incorporate them into your diet.

Carbohydrates can be found in many foods, such as breads, beans, potatoes and pasta. They are the most common source of energy in our diet. Although technically a human being can live on only proteins and fats, it is not advisable. Proteins and fat are important for body tissue and cells and if they have to be completely redirected to provide energy for the body, because a person is not taking in any carbs, it could cause problems for the body.

Although there are diets that say that you should not have any carbohydrates, national organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization have set as a guide that Americans should get 55-75% of their total energy from carbohydrates. That is a pretty substantial amount and therefore you should not shy away from eating foods containing carbohydrates. 

You may have read about the distinction between "good" and "bad" carbs. What these phrases mean is that certain carbohydrates contain simple sugars and do not provide long-lasting energy for the body. You need to consume "good" carbohydrates more often to ensure that you are getting the right kind of food for your body. These are also called "complex" carbohydrates and include fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.

Hopefully this guide has helped clear up some of the mystery surrounding carbs and you are staring to realize that they are not the enemy. Although you should not be consuming a diet solely of french fries and bread, having "good" carbs in your diet will only serve to aid your health and increase your energy as you go throughout the process.

If after reading this guide you are still unsure about how to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet, you may want to consider signing up for a program like the one available through BistroMD. We will deliver healthy, balanced meals to your home.

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