The simple answer is yes, we definitely need carbohydrates for energy, as long as it is the right carbs and at a 'healthy' time of day. Late evening is when they should be avoided (unless after a big gym workout, for example). First thing in the morning or lunchtime sees us reaping the most benefits and least weight gain, they can even aid weight loss.
Carbohydrates are the principal energy source in most of our diets and the recommended daily intake is 35-50% of dietary energy. They cause protein sparing action, needed for growth (especially important for children) and for repair. Carbs breakdown fatty acids and prevent ketosis (abnormal fat metabolism and diabetes mellitus). They aid in maintaining blood glucose levels and our digestive systems change carbs into glucose (blood sugar) for energy. It is all about the amount, the food combinations and the time of day consumed.
From a recent article by Huffington Post 'Scientists have discovered that carbohydrates could be the reason why, over time, the human brain has become so large and intelligent. The healthiest sources being unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.' Another great reason to ensure they are in your daily healthy eating plan!
Additional good source ideas of carbohydrates are: brown and wild rice, oatmeal, wholewheat pasta and cereals and sweet potatoes. Ones to definitely moderate in your diet are white bread, potatoes & rice, milk, popcorn, cookies and spaghetti.
Combine carbs with the other main dietary nutrients we need - proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals as each nutrient has a different purpose and you will notice the increase in energy levels and overall health.
Have a great week!
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