Should you give up carbs completely to avoid diabetes and heart disease problems? Let’s talk about controlling carbs as you age – myths and facts that reveal the truth.
Controlling the different elements in your diet as you age is very important. People are unable to control the various aspects of their diets as there are a lot of myths around these diet elements. We will help you learn about these dietary elements, especially carbohydrates, in your diet.
People generally consider carbohydrates unhealthy and a bad part of your diet. This article will try to debunk some of these myths by giving you facts and details.
What are Carbohydrates, and Why Are They Important?
Carbohydrates are a part of sugary foods such as cakes and cookies, and this is why people have a misconception about them that they are not healthy.
You will find a lot of diet plans recommending you to cut on carbohydrates, but as a senior, you should be careful while following these diet plans.
Cutting any part from the diet to an extreme is dangerous. You should take all forms of nutrients in a controlled manner, and everything should be done in moderation.
Types Of Carbohydrates
There are mainly three types of carbohydrates available in the food:-
- Sugar: This is the most basic and simple type of carbohydrate, and it occurs naturally in foods such as milk, milk products, fruits, vegetables, sugar, and so on.
- Starch: This is the type of complex carbohydrate available in the food items such as vegetables, grains, and cooked dry beans. This type of carbohydrate is made from a combination of sugar components.
- Fiber: This is also another type of complex carbohydrate. It is naturally found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and peas.
What Are The Food Items That Have Carbohydrates?
The following food items contain high amounts of fiber and carbohydrates in them:-
- Grains, especially whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Dairy products
- Vegetables such as beans, corn, potatoes, and sweet potato
- Sweets that are rich in sugar
The Benefits Of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have a lot of benefits for the functioning of our body:-
Increase Energy Level
Our body breaks down the fats and sugars in the food, making carbs. This carbohydrate then becomes one of the primary sources of energy for our bodies.
Senior citizens should choose between the type of carbohydrates they are consuming. They should consume complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, which makes sure that your food does not spike your blood sugar levels.
For instance, if you eat whole grain bread compared to a doughnut, the bread will cause fewer spikes in the glucose levels in the blood.
Carbohydrates promote fullness
Carbohydrates also create a feeling of fullness. People who control their diet by limiting the intake of carbohydrates may feel an intense hunger that they cannot control and resist.
The complex carbohydrates will remain in your body for a longer time. Due to this reason, you will feel hungry again after time intervals. Oats and oatmeal are perfect sources of complex carbohydrates, and you can give this to people whenever they want something to munch on in between meals.
Carbs in fruits and vegetables are very good for you.
Some people make the mistake of following a complete protein diet and ignoring carbohydrates, even if they come in the form of natural fruits and vegetables.
Senior citizens must have a controlled diet, including vegetables and fruits. You will find that these food items have antioxidants and other vital vitamins. You get vitamins A and C, which are essential for keeping the body functioning correctly.
Seniors can face various challenges when following a strict diet plan. Constipation and other bowel problems come into the picture as a result of diet. But fruits and vegetables help to normalize the bowel movement (due to the presence of fiber) and keep you fresh the whole day.
How Much Carbohydrate Do You Need Daily?
According to the American Dietary Guidelines, carbohydrates should be about 45 to 65 percent of your daily mineral requirements. For instance, if you consume 2000 calories per day, then out of these 2000 calories, 900-1300 calories should consist of carbohydrates. You can find the carbohydrate in a food item by reading the food label.
Impact Of Carbohydrates On The Heart
All types of carbohydrates are different; how you digest simple and complex carbohydrates is different, and it also affects our health in different ways.
You should limit the intake of simple carbs as they are easy to digest, due to which the person feels hungry again and again, eventually leading to weight gain. Due to this reason, the heart also has to work overtime breaking down the food you are eating again and again.
On the other hand, if you intake complex carbs, your heart will not have to work overtime as it can slowly break down the food at its own pace. These food items also reduce inflammation and cause less strain on the heart.
Debunking Carbohydrate Myths
Carbohydrates increase your weight.
This is the most prominent myth associated with the consumption of carbohydrates that it increases the consumer’s weight. This statement is not true as a person can gain weight due to consuming anything in large portions, not necessarily carbohydrates. If you want to monitor your weight, you have to control the portioning of your food.
Go for whole-grain foods over refined grains. As an older person, you would benefit from whole-grain foods as these are rich in fiber. Due to the higher fiber concentration in whole grain foods, it is easier for our digestive system to break them down and don’t store them as fats. Carbohydrates that are low on fiber remain in our body as fats.
Fruits have high sugar levels.
Fruits have a higher concentration of fiber and carbohydrate levels in them. Due to this reason, people often think that they also have very high sugar levels.
The sugar present in these fruits is a form of natural sugar that is very different from the processed or filtered sugar that you get from processed foods like cakes and doughnuts. The processed sugars are what contribute towards the weight gain of a person.
If you increase the intake of processed sugar, it can lead to many chronic diseases. You can control this sugar intake by reducing the preservative sugar to less than 10% of the total calorie intake.
Consuming carbohydrates at night is bad.
Again, this is a common myth that the consumption of carbohydrates at night is harmful to the body. Carbohydrates are digested and processed in exactly the same way by our body, irrespective of the time of the day.
So the above myth is false, and the fact is that the consumption of carbohydrates is not related to any particular time of the day. If you keep the eating portion in control, you will not gain any body weight.
Diets that are low on carbohydrates are the best for losing weight.
This statement is not necessarily true as carbohydrates are essential for the proper functioning of our body. If you limit your carbohydrate consumption to a very low amount, then you will experience weight loss, but it is not healthy in the longer run.
Secondly, the weight loss you will experience through lack of carbohydrates is temporary as you will gain that weight back as soon as you introduce carbohydrates again in your diet.
You should also know that carbohydrates are the only fuel source for our brain. Limiting the intake of carbs will bring your body to ketosis. In this state, the body starts to burn the body fat for fuel instead of glucose. As a result, your blood can also become too acidic.
You should use the glycemic index to determine if a food is healthy or not.
The glycemic index is not a suitable parameter for judging whether a food item is healthy. This index tells how the various foods will affect your blood sugar levels.
- A food item with a glycemic index rating lower than 55 is digested slower, and it will not have a huge impact on blood sugar levels.
- A food item with a higher glycemic index rating will be digested quickly, and it will also affect the blood sugar levels.
However, this index does not show the full picture of the effect of food on your body. It does not matter if you eat in large portions, even if what you eat has a low GI. On the other hand, a high GI food is ok as long as you take it in limited quantities.
Some Common Myths Related To Food And Nutrition
There are many myths around food and nutrition that people end up blindly following just because they read it or heard about it from somewhere. Most of these times, these are just myths, and they are presented to the people in such a way that the people get scared and concerned.
Some of these most common myths are:-
To lose extra weight or get into shape, you have to give up your favorite foods completely.
The most common myth is that you have to completely give up your favorite foods to lose weight or get into shape.
This myth is not entirely accurate as you don’t have to leave your favorite foods altogether. You can consume them but in moderation. You can always consume small amounts of your favorite foods and make them a part of your weight-loss plan. You can also add a particular cheat day to your weekly diet plan and enjoy your favorite foods at that time. If you wish to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in.
Products that have grains such as bread, rice, and pasta are fattening, and they add more weight is another prominent myth.
The fact is that grains are not necessarily fattening or unhealthy, but if you substitute whole-grain products with these grain products, you will have an issue. According to the 2015-2020 dietary Guidelines, consumer grains are essential for a healthy eating plan.
Food items that include whole-grain are wheat bread, cereal, oats, food items that have iron and fiber, etc.
Gluten-free food is healthier to eat.
There is another common food myth that gluten-free food is healthier to eat. Gluten-free food is more beneficial for you only if you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten. It is a type of protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye grains. If you don’t have any gluten-related health problems and still avoid them, you are missing out on some vital nutrients. Typically, a gluten-free diet is not intended to make you lose weight.
Avoiding all fat food will help you lose weight.
Avoiding all fats to lose weight is not going to help you. Like every other mineral is an essential part of the diet plan, fat is also a critical part of our diet. Although you do need to limit the fat intake, they are challenging to break down and increase your weight. However, completely stopping taking them is not an option. One great tip you can follow is replacing high-fat milk with low-fat milk.
Dairy products as they are fattening and will increase your weight
You will also find people asking you to leave dairy products as they are fattening and will increase your weight. This is just a myth as dairy products have protein, calcium, and complex carbohydrates that help a person to strengthen their bones. Most of the dairy also contains added vitamin D, which is again an essential vitamin for the proper functioning of the body.
You can go for tofu and soy-based beverages if you don’t want to go for the typical dairy products. According to the health guidelines, the number of saturated fats consumed by a person should be less than 10%, fat levels higher than this can pose some serious health threats.
Carbohydrates are associated with many myths, especially when it comes to dietary plans for losing weight. Most of these myths are based on false information or assumptions, so this article tries to state facts and debunk the myths so that you can form a proper diet plan as a person looking to lose weight.
In the end, we hope the above information was useful for you and would love to hear your comments and suggestions. If you liked the content, please do not hesitate to share it with your friends and family and on your social media handles.