Why Do I Need to Eat “Good” Carbs?
We’ve all been there: the 3:00 p.m. slump. It’s been a few hours since lunch and motivation to review that proposal on your desk is waning. You tell yourself you need something to perk you up – caffeine, right? Not so fast.
That quick energy fix might feel good in the moment, but it won’t feel so hot when you crash shortly thereafter. Tiredness and irritability may set in. Finishing that proposal may seem doubly impossible!
Don’t tell me to eat carbs. You’re going to tell me to eat carbs, aren’t you?
“Good” Carb, “Bad” Carb
We wrote a blog post back in November entitled “Good Carb, Bad Carb,” in which we noted how quick many of us are to label all carbs as “bad.” We forget how important those good carbs really are! They are, in fact, our primary energy source, releasing slowly into our bloodstream and fueling both body and mind.
Speaking of mind, the brain is a great example. It accounts for a paltry two percent of our body weight (sad but true), yet gobbles approximately 70 percent of glucose (blood sugar) in order to stay sharp, alert and thinking like the next Einstein. Most other organs in the body can use a variety of nutrients to function, but your brain depends on glucose. Be nice to your brain.
45-60% of our energy intake should come from good carbs. If you work, think, move, walk, lift, dance, climb, step, bounce, laugh, blink – you get the idea – then you need healthy carbs.
As a reminder, good carbs contain fiber and burn slowly, providing a sustained release of energy. You may have heard of the more scientific name, low-glycemic, which literally means low-sugar, referring to the effect a food has on your blood sugar. Low-glycemic carbs provide dependable energy and spare us from energy spikes and crashes. They are digested in the body more slowly than high-glycemic or refined carbs – those may lead to catching a few unintentional zzzzz’s at our workstations.
Won’t all carbs go to my middle? Don’t all carbs make me gain weight? No and no. If we’re eating good carbs that digest and burn slowly, our body uses them to fuel our movements and thus they’re not stored away in our middles as extra fat. However, if we’re eating refined carbs, those which have been stripped of fiber and nutrients, these turn to sugar in the body when we ingest them, and our body stores that excess as fat.
How Can I Tell the Difference? I’m Not a Scientist.
Veggies, fruits, grains and beans are the primary source of good carbs. For packaged food, take a look at the nutrition facts label. Good carbs will contain fiber to slow that digestive process down – we recommend a minimum of 3g of fiber per serving.
Which foods are fabulous to prevent the afternoon slump? A Zing Bar, of course, cough cough. But in all seriousness, our bars contain about 24-26 grams of good carbs, in the form of gluten-free oats and low-glycemic agave nectar and tapioca syrup. Our bars also contain 4-8 grams fiber. There you go – long-lasting, healthy energy during your day! Ok, we know there are tons of healthy choices for that afternoon snack – veggies and hummus, or whole grain toast with almond butter, or an apple and nuts. Good carbs!
The next time you’re feeling hangry, or feeling a few zzzzz’s setting in, do yourself a favor and don’t shy away from good carbs. They absolutely have a welcome place on the plate during the day. Now c’mon, let’s tackle that proposal.