Carbs are king. They provide the body with the energy it needs, they power muscles and the brain and without them the body would be weak. Society has labelled carbs as ‘evil’ and ‘fattening’ however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Over the past few years a number of fad-diets have emerged shaming high carb diets and warning people to steer well clear. This has occurred due to the average person not being able to give up their junk food so they need something to blame, thus they think eating high carb is to blame. Not fat (kinda in the name eh?), or salt which we know increases water retention and therefore weight and makes the body to appear ‘puffy’.
What the Scientists Say
If we think of the slimmest and leanest people on earth these are Africans and Asians, yet they are the biggest carbohydrate consumers in the world, eating an abundance of rice and other grains. This extract written by Miyaki (2012) explains it well:
“In Japan, diabetes and obesity rates were never greater than 3 percent of the population pre-1991. If carbs in general were the enemy, with their high starch intake via rice and sweet potatoes, the Japanese would be the fattest, most diabetic and unhealthy population on the planet. However, this was not the case. Condemning all carbs as evil and cutting them across the board, regardless of the type or individual metabolic situation, is an uniformed approach.”
High Carb Benefits
Carbohydrates also offer other benefits such as improved sleep and mood. The Poliquin Group (2014) discuss how “the amino acid tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin and it is not taken up for conversion when other amino acids from a high-protein diet are present. However, when you eat carbs they trigger insulin, which reduces amino acid levels in the blood so that tryptophan can easily cross the blood brain barrier for conversion to serotonin.”
The recommended amount of carbs is that they should make up at least 50% of your total daily intake of food however, this should be substantially higher in order to perform at the highest level. One should look to have a high intake of complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, other grains, fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates are converted into glycogen, the fuel our bodies run on everyday and the fuel we need to workout. We should ensure carbs make up roughly 70-80% of our daily diet while looking to keep out fat levels low.
All in all, carbs really are king and we shouldn’t be shying away from them. A high carb VEGAN diet is one that’s sustainable for the rest of your life, with no starving yourself or putting massive amounts of weight on, rather than the numerous fad diets knocking around at the moment.
Check out this article by the Medical Daily for some more info.