Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

You should be eating more slow carbs, here’s why

Want to avoid feeling sluggish? Try this.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jul 1, 2021

You’re probably familiar with the simple low-carb principle, whether you name it Keto, Atkins, or LCHF. After all, if you’ve been thinking about losing weight or otherwise changing your diet, the theory goes, start by cutting out carbohydrates.
The truth is a little more complex when it comes to food fads, because not all carbs affect your body in the same way.

 

What are carbohydrates?

Carbs are often associated with spaghetti, or bread, but they can also be found in more balanced whole foods such as corn, apples, and beans.

 

Carbohydrates are what dieticians call macronutrients, so they contain sugars, the simplest carb, as well as starch and fiber, which are more complex carbohydrates.

 

The body requires all three to function properly, particularly as a source of glucose, also known as blood sugar. The body cannot function without glucose. It’s the fuel that drives our cells, and it’s what helps you complete an intense workout session.

 

The science of carbs

The relationship between our bodies and glucose—and carbs—is, however, complicated. When you eat a carb, the blood sugar rises, causing your body to produce more insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells to take in glucose and turn it into a form that can be used for energy. Blood sugar levels drop as insulin levels rise.

 

What you need to know is that blood sugar rises and drops are actually bad for you, so the aim is to eat enough calories while keeping blood sugar relatively steady, preventing both high blood sugar and the lethargic sugar-crash feeling. In order to do this, the trick is to choose carbohydrates that are digested more slowly and have a lower potential to spike your blood sugar: and this is why you should be eating slow carbs.

 

Slow carbs

Low GI (glycemic index) foods are carbs that actually slowly release glucose into the bloodstream, allowing for a more sustained release of energy throughout the day. Here are some examples of slow carbs that you can include in your diet:

  • Low GI cereals such as puffed rice, bran flakes, or corn flakes
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnips, yams, and sweet corn
  • Legumes and certain beans such as kidney beans, red lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, butter beans, and green lentils
  • Nut and nut butters such as almond butter and peanut butter
  • Fresh fruits such as apples, peaches, grapefruit, plums, apricots, oranges, and strawberries
  • And finally, dairy products which are surprisingly low on the GI scale

 

If you’re looking into weight loss, read our first person account of how counting macros helped.