Carbohydrates play an important role in human biochemistry as they’re our main source of quick energy. There are two basic kinds of Carbohydrates; Simple and Complex.
- Simple: White sugar, white bread, baked goods, etc… which in high amounts have shown to causes inflammation, blood sugar dysfunction, cancer promotion, oxidative stress, and suppress immune function.
- Complex: Whole grains, vegetables, legumes which have shown to help stabilize blood sugars and provide a wide range of micronutrients since they have not yet been stripped of their nutrition.
- Fiber: is a complex carbohydrate that takes longer to metabolize which results in better blood sugar control and a healthy and clean gastrointestinal tract. Optimal fiber intake is 25g daily for females and 30g daily for males.
Carbohydrate intake should range from 33-65% of diet depending on level of activity spent throughout the day. A more active day would result in consumption of more carbohydrates and a sedentary day would mean less carbohydrates. If not counting calories, just make sure these foods take up only 1/3 of your plate. Remember it’s more important to choose nutrient dense foods.
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
Based off a 2000 calorie diet (base yours off your weight goals)
Active day: 2000 x 33% (1/3 of plate) = 660 calories
To figure out how many grams daily:
take total calories from carbohydrates and divide that number by 4 (number of calories per gram of carbohydrate).
660/4= 165g carbohydrates daily
Best Sources of Carbohydrates
Fruits, Vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds. These foods should form the majority of the 1/3rd of carbohydrate on your plate. Whole grains are ok while you are working towards eating the best diet possible to achieve optimal health. For optimal weight loss, grains are best avoided or to be consumed in moderation. There are benefits to WHOLE grains as they are a great source of fiber, B vitamins, Iron, calcium and other nutrients. These nutrients are also high in fruits and vegetables. Try some whole grains you’ve never cooked with before!
Fruit: 2-3 servings daily (one serving is equal to ½ cup or one medium sized piece of fruit like an apple)
Vegetables: 5-6 servings daily
1 serving of bulk vegetables is ½ cup 1 serving of leafy vegetable is 1 cup
Legumes/nuts/seeds: incorporate into meals or eaten as snacks.
- Pinto Beans
- Butter Beans
- Split Peas
- Baked Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Navy Beans
- Sesame Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Pecan Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower seeds