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It can feel like the day’s big fitness and nutrition trends are taking things to extremes – keto-obsessed, fat-burning, no-carb-everything. But what if you feel like you are falling in the middle? You’re doing your best to hit the weights, work your cardio, commit to leg day, and eat right, but playing keto seems overwhelming – or maybe you just can’t finish the occasional bagel or pancake breakfast. You are only human And the truth is, the human body works best when it is supplied with a diverse balance of vitamins, minerals, and micro- and macronutrients that are abundant in healthy, high-quality foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Seeds and whole grains.
Sure, carbohydrates have their purpose when it comes to keeping you fueled. But there are many good reasons to keep the carbohydrates (and the often accompanying added sugars) in check and also to eat a diet rich in protein and with other healthy ingredients. In other words, there are plenty of good reasons to fall somewhere in the middle. Here are seven benefits of a carbohydrate.deliberately Regime.
Potentially longer lifespan
The Main risk factor for death and disability Malnutrition in all its forms exists around the world – including malnutrition, obesity, and excessive nutritional risks. According to Ryan Andrews, RD, CSCS and Chief Nutritionists and Advisors at Precision nutritionThese dietary risks include not eating enough fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and consuming too many non-nutrient sources of food such as sugar, saturated fat, or salt. Eating a diet high in these foods can be particularly problematic as it can increase your risk of dying from heart disease, even if you are not overweight. Carefully choosing your carbohydrates is key to avoiding unnecessary excess nutrients and an essential factor in long-term health, says Andrews.
More space for all the important nutrients
Overdoing a particular macro, like carbohydrates, can prevent you from meeting other micro- and macronutrient needs, explains Jonathan Valdez, RDN, and a spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, not getting enough protein can slow your body’s recovery from exercising or strenuous activity. When you eat fewer carbohydrates, there is more room for nutrient-rich foods that meet your body’s daily needs – and help you feel your best.
Better blood sugar control
A roller coaster ride on blood sugar and insulin (a hormone that your cells use to absorb blood sugar for energy) can cause inflammation, which can lead to chronic illness, explains Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, a Colorado-based nutritionist. Controlling your carbohydrate intake can of course help regulate your body’s blood sugar levels, she explains. Studies suggest that people who eat fewer carbohydrates can help lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, even if they don’t lose weight.
Optimal brain function
“The types of high-carbohydrate foods included in the diet play a critical role in overall brain health. Mood, and cognitive function“Says Andrews. While many factors play a role in optimal brain function, one important nutritional factor appears to be nutrient-rich foods: vegetables, fruits, legumes, seafood, nuts, seeds, and whole grains,” he says.
Micronutrients in these foods called polyphenols actually improve the plasticity of your brain – essentially how well your brain is equipped to change when new information is displayed. (Feel free to dive in here for some more nutritional science studies.)
According to a 2018 study by Harvard Medical School, people who adopted a more carbohydrate conscious mindset increased their daily calorie consumption significantly. They burned 209 more calories a day than those on a high-carb diet. The researchers hypothesized that cutting carbohydrates is likely to increase people’s metabolism and promote weight loss.
“Failure to meet your other nutritional needs can result in slower metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats,” says Valdez. “If you overdo it on carbohydrates, you are likely overdoing it on calories too, which can lead to weight gain.”
The same Harvard Medical School study found that levels of the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin were significantly lower in carbohydrate-conscious people than high-carbohydrate eaters. If you keep the levels of these hormones in check, you will likely eat less with meals. According to Valdez, having more space to replenish protein and other nutrients can help reduce total caloric intake naturally by simply increasing the feeling of satiety (a natural benefit associated with protein). To stay full, Valdez says, make sure half of every meal consists of non-starchy vegetables: “Vegetables contain fiber, which makes you feel full with fewer calories.”
More efficient fat burning
Your body is picky about fuel and prefers carbohydrates in the form of stored glycogen over all other sources, explains Kirkpatrick. When glycogen stores are low, your body turns to fat for fuel, she says – something that can help you lose weight but also improve performance. A 2017 study in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that when endurance athletes followed a carbohydrate-conscious diet, their muscles appeared to store energy and burn fat more efficiently than those who ate carbohydrates. This is a change that can help you avoid stamina bonks or performance degradation when you’re on your last leg.
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