Often I’m asked if carbs are the bad guys and proteins should be the nutrient to consume instead. The answer is no; both are essential for our body and we should consume them on a daily basis.
Fiber, carbs, fats, proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals all play equally important and indispensable role in the body. No one should say that one nutrient is more important than another. None of these nutrients can perform all of the functions necessary for our well-being.
Essential Nutrient Functions
Carbs provide energy, proteins are the building blocks of muscles and bones, and vitamins and minerals maintain healthy mucous membranes, skin, soft tissues, bones and teeth. It isn’t possible for the body to manufacture blood and maintain proper functioning of the brain without the presence of essential vitamins and minerals.
If all nutrients taken are in the form of proteins, there’ll be no provision of energy. If all are carbs, then the body is robbed of the opportunity to physically develop and the brain is not allowed to think, memorize or analyze properly. Given that nutritional condition, it is, therefore, wrong for people to focus too much on issues like carbs vs protein and any topics which put the blame on nutrients for the health mishaps that people encounter.
What Research Should Focus On
The best pursuit is the determination of proper nutrition – that is, knowing how much should people eat of each of these nutrients and whether or not the body has the capacity to use up nutrients ingested in different quantities. That is what research has to focus on. For the remaining space, let it be shown that carbs and proteins are both important and none of them should be considered inferior to the other.
Carbohydrates or Carbs
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a number of carbs you need. Depending on body structure, sex, and energy need, people should eat 225 to 325 gram of carbohydrates daily. Very low carbohydrate intake will result in energy deficiency and improper functioning of the nervous system. Carbohydrates are the prime sources of energy for the spinal cord and the brain.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates like sugar, is harmful as well. If you eat too many natural sugars, rice, and bread, your body will form extra glucose which will, later on, turn into fat. That’s the major cause of diabetes and obesity.
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FYI: not all carbs are created equally.
Simple carbs spike blood sugar which can lead to heart diseases, obesity, and many other major health issues. Complex carbs, on the other hand, take longer to process and slowly release sugar into our bloodstream. These should be the ones to consume.
Unhealthy carbohydrate-rich foods: dried fruit, cereals, crackers, cakes, flours, jams, preserves, bread products, and potato products.
Healthy carbohydrate-rich foods: vegetables, legumes (beans), whole grains, fruits, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
In contrast, the body needs only 60 to 80 g of protein per day, but with that little amount, the body is already able to build muscles, teeth, hair, skin, nails, etc. That amount is also enough to maintain proper functioning of those body parts. Without enough supply of protein, your hair will neither shine nor grow long, your nails will turn brownish or pale, and your muscles will start to shrink.
Not of the least importance is the function of proteins to support the immune system, the disease-fighting mechanism of the body. If you lack protein, your life will be a vicious cycle of getting sick and recovering. But one cannot pack large amounts of protein-rich food on his plate without harming the body. Doctors warn against eating too much protein as it leads to the formation of ketones. Ketones are toxic to the body and sometimes, deadly.
Protein-rich foods: fish, lean meat, dairy, beans, green peas, lentils, quinoa, nuts, and seeds
If you want to achieve optimum health, strive towards a balanced diet instead of excluding certain food groups or nutrients from your diet (unless you are allergic, intolerant or a vegetarian or vegan of course).
Throw away the supplements that have large amounts of one particular nutrient, and opt for fresh whole foods and home-cooked meals instead.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.