Why do we need to eat carbohydrates?
We all know or hear that we need carbohydrate in our diet, but why? A “zero carb diet” is actually very difficult to achieve, and it’s not very sustainable because it’s actually not great for our bodies.
Carbohydrate is a nutrient that our body needs. It is an organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for our body– they are the energy that gets used first (before protein, fat and alcohol). It is recommended by most sources (including the Guideline Daily Amounts) that about 45-60% of our energy intake should come from carbohydrates.
They have important roles in our body including:
- An energy source that gives us most the energy that our body needs;
- Part of many proteins and fats (lipids) that our body needs for many bodily processes;
- Providing nutrients for the good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest our food; and
- Protecting our muscles because carbohydrates are the first source of energy for our body, without it, protein from our muscles will be used meaning that our body will effectively eat its own muscles!
Clearly, carbohydrates are important for normal health, so don’t cut them out of your diet.