As some of you may know, I don’t think grains are great. I don’t think humans were meant to eat as many grains as we currently consume, and Idefinitely don’t think we were meant to eat as many processed grains. But I also don’t think Dr. Atkins was completely right about carbs.
I personally cut grains out of my diet almost completely last year — I looked and felt better for it. But I do think there are some good reasons to eat carbs (grains, starchy vegetables, etc.). There are also good reasons not to, so you all should know both sides of the story.
CARB PRO: Carbs are usually pretty filling. There’s something about adding a few potatoes to a soup, or eating your stir-fry with a small portion of rice that just does the trick in terms of satisfaction.
CARB CON: …But they’re not filling for long. Unfortunately, carbs aren’t filling for very long. Did you ever notice that, after eating a carb-heavy meal, you’re hungry again a couple hours later? When you eat a lot of carbs, you’re full, but not satisfied. That can cause you to overeat later.
CARB PRO: Carbs can give you instant energy. Before a long run, I used to always have an English muffin with peanut butter and banana. Tons of carbs, tons of energy.
CARB CON: …But again, that energy doesn’t last long. And if you don’t use it, your body will proabably store it as fat.
CARB PRO: Eating some carbs can prevent binges. What do people binge on most? It’s not meat, I’ll tell you that. It’s mostly carb-filled goodies: pastas, cookies, breads, bagels, muffins, etc. You won’t find someone sneaking pats of butter late at night! When you incorporate some unprocessed carbs into your diet (sprouted grain bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), you may not feel as inclined to gorge yourself on carbs than if you deprive yourself completely.
CARB CON: …But eating carbs can also lead to carb binges. It goes back to the last pro/con: Carbs are filling, but they’re not satisfying. At least not on their own. So you can end up eating way more than you intend to. You can help prevent that phenomenon by eating unprocessed carbs with plenty of protein and at least a little fat (and hopefully very little sugar!) in order to prevent overeating.
CARB PRO: Carbs are delicious! I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that carbs are just TASTY! That can’t be denied. And I never deny myself deliciousness.
CARB CON: Other foods are just as delicious, and that’s easy to forget. A really well-seasoned, juicy chicken breast can be just as heavenly as a plate of mac ‘n’ cheese, but the chicken may need a little bit more TLC. Non-carby food can be devine! So don’t think carbs are the only type of food that pleases the palate.
As you can see, carbs have their benefits, but there are some downsides too. Ultimately, how many carbs you choose to consume is up to you, but whatever you do, choose unprocessed carbs as often as you can!
Any other carb pros/cons you can think of?