Hey Mama-carbs aren't all bad!
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
So what's all this carbohydrate confusion?
With all of those low carbohydrate diets out there, its hard to believe that you need carbs...but guess what --- you do!
Wait ---so carbs are actually good for you?
Yes that's right, you heard it here first!
In fact, the recommendation for carbohydrate is 45-65% of your daily caloric intake! Meaning it is the largest macronutrient need IN YOUR DAILY FOOD CONSUMPTION! Aka we should NOT be scared of carbs!
What are the benefits of carb consumption?
Various types of carbs supply our bodies with vitamins, minerals, fiber and most importantly ENERGY!
Do you think pregnant Mamas and new breast feeding Mamas need additional energy to support their newborn? Answer: HECK YES!
The above mentioned Mamas have additional nutrient needs to either support the development of their newborn or support breastfeeding.
But why the bad carb reputation?
One of the reasons that carbs get a bad reputation is because (like all things) not all carbs are created equal. We are sure you have heard of whole grains, whole wheat, enriched/fortified flours, etc., ... the list goes on!
Which carbs should we eat then?
Our rule of thumb is to have AT LEAST half of your daily grain intake come from whole grains. You can distinguish this by looking at your nutrient labels; specifically the ingredient list.
HINT: If the first ingredient says "whole _____," it is a whole grain. Easy as that!
Example: Instead of whole grain -- the product may also be whole wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain rice, etc. You can find these in a variety of goods such as bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, crackers, etc.
Did you know there are carbs in fruits and vegetables as well?
It is important to recognize the fact that there are indeed carbs in fruits and veggies! Who would'a thought right...
We all know that fruits and veggies are PACKED with nutrients (vitamins, minerals, cancer fighting antioxidants, fiber, etc.) so again, we should not fear or avoid these carbs.
Are high glycemic index carbs bad?
Some people are beginning to be concerned with the high glycemic index of some foods. 'High glycemic index' means that the individual food may raise blood sugars more rapidly than another 'carby' food. That being said, rarely do we eat things by themselves. Therefore the glycemic index rarely matters when eating a full meal due to the protein, fiber, fat intake found in the other consumed foods.
If you'd like to learn more about Glycemic Index of foods (we realize it is a bit confusing)--- feel free to email us any questions! We'll answer as soon as we can.
Why do we get 'hangry'?
Our bodies (usually) give us subtle, or not so subtle, hints that our blood sugars are low and that we need energy. This is in terms of energy giving carbohydrates (rather than protein and fats).
One of the first signs that we are low in total energy (carbohydrate) intake is snack cravings/maybe even junk food cravings.
Our body is telling us that is needs quick energy --- therefore we are attracted to simpler carbohydrates such as potato chips, Cheetos, etc. This can happen after the end of a long day where we did not feed ourselves nutrient dense balanced meals throughout the day.
Low energy levels may cause us to experience fatigue, brain fog, anger/mood swings, etc. We may find ourselves to be forgetful and even unable to cope with our environment. Forget workouts --- no way we can do that in a low energy state!
How does our body fight back?
Our body will try to increase energy levels by releasing sugar into the bloodstream --- which may in turn cause headaches at your temples. Chronic 'hunger' may also lead to increased bloating/constipation due to decreased fiber intake.
If our bodies are chronically deficient of carbs --- we will begin to create ketones for energy. This will cause unusually fruity smelling breath, mood swings, as well as temperature control issues. If you are a diabetic this could lead to an ARRAY of issues (please feel free to email us for additional information).
Aka PLEASE EAT CARBS!
The above statements are just some of the many reasons to absolutely eat, if not LOVE, carbs. They support us through the day and are the main energy source for our BRAINS! We say let's support the brain's nutrient needs and bring out the pasta dish.
If you are trying to lose weight and you think your carbohydrate intake is too high--- try taking out the processed carbs and replacing them with whole grains, fruits, or vegetables! This will help power you through your day while staying on track with your goals!
Thank you for reading and please sign up on our mailing list for Mamas Maternal Health updates and weekly blog posts at www.mamasmaternalhealth.com!
Until next time!
Mikayla and Cassie
Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
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