Discuss if carbohydrates are good or bad for you.Discuss if carbohydrates are good or bad for you.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this comes down to the element of moderation.  A diet rich of carbohydrates represents much in way of energy.  Both short term and long term energy sources can be found in carbohydrate- ladened food sources.  It is here where the greatest strength in carbohydrates can be found, as the body seeks energy to carry out functions.  It is found in carbohydrates.  I think that one particular disadvantage of a diet that is too heavy in carbohydrates can be weight gain.  Foods that contain much in way of carbohydrates also contain much in terms of weight intake, and this can pose its own challenges to the body.  In this setting, a diet that is too steeped in carbohydrate intake can also run the risk of weight gain.  At the same time, I think that carbohydrate consumption runs a risk of isolating other nutrients the body needs.  Energy sources such as carbohydrates are so potent that there is a tendency to focus only here and sacrifice the other nutrients the body needs such as proteins, which can help to repair muscles.  Carbohydrates, like all else the body takes in, are not seen as "good" or "bad," but rather something needed in moderation and in conjunction with other nutrients.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like the previous post states, everything in moderation is good for you. The problem with carbohydrates is that their ultimate job is to supply our body with ready-energy. This is what gives us the high that comes with eating too much candy, or other carbohydrate-laden foods. 

However, if you eat carbohydrates and you excercise, the energy (calories)that will be burned first will be the ones that come from the foods that are rich in carbohydrates. If you eat too many carbs and then choose not to exercise, then that energy will be stored as fat. This is when people say "do not eat carbs". That is not a good idea.

Keep in mind, a diet without carbohydrates can lead to depression and even a form of malnutrition. We need every food group to maintain a healthy body working optimally. Again, moderation is the key to everything.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's funny that this is on here right now...  I had been eating a really low fat diet (just because that's what I like) for a long time.  It's kept my weight at a decent (not great) level but I've had high triglycerides, which are a risk factor for heart disease.  After talking to some nutritionists, I finally figured out that I'd been eating too many carbohydrates and not enough (if you can imagine) fats and proteins.  So now I've started getting 60-65% of my calories from carbs rather than 85% or so.  I don't know what it will do for my blood chemistry yet, but I've lost 6 pounds in the last 2.5 weeks.

Anyway, carbohydrates are definitely important, but it's not good to eat too many of them like everyone else has been saying.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was pointed out in previous posts, the key is moderation. There is much emphasis in the media these days about good carbs vs. bad carbs. This is difficult to stomach, if you will pardon the pun. Our bodies can only obtain energy when we consume carbohydrates. Low carbohydrate or no carbohydrate diets can be harmful. One desiring to lose weight needs to cut down on total calorie intake, period. The key is a balanced diet; properly balanced between proteins, carbohydrates, and some fats. There is no magic bullet or secret diet that will deliver results any faster or any more efficiently.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I agree with the above posts. It all depends on how much you are eating and how much exercise you are getting. An athlete might want to bulk up on carbs before a big workout or competition. They will need the extra energy that carbs can provide. In this type of situation, carbs can be good or even necessary. However, for most of us, carbs can be bad. If someone bulks up on carbs and does not exercise, they will easily gain weight. I don't think carbohydrates are necessarily bad, but perhaps the average person's overeating of carbohydrates is the real problem.
justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the camp that advocates a low carbohydrate diet, I have to agree that Americans eat way too much carbohydrate. A lot of this is to do with the fact that food containing carbohydrate can be made to feel so light that people do not realize the large amounts they have consumed before they find their hunger satisfied.

Also, as a type 1 diabetic for the last 30 years, I find the relatively recent low-carb way of blood sugar control very effective.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, snack foods or "comfort foods" contain a large amount of carbohydrates, because of the energy that they give us, which is a problem if we overdose too much. I guess this question highlights the importance of a balanced diet and knowledge of food groupings. As my old Granny used to say (God bless her) everything in moderation. As she lived to 94, I think I will try and follow her advice.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another problem with carbohydrates is that they come in food so many people eat for comfort or in which they over indulge. Take potato chips. Lays had a commercial that bragged "no one can eat just one Lays potato chip." The only time anyone does eat just one is to prove that he or she can. Carbohydrates also store and turn to fat if they are overindulged in and not effectively burned up.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
As with anything, too much food high in carbohydrates is not good for you. Fat comes from carbohydrates being converted to sugar. Cut sugar out of your diet in all of its forms, and you'll lose weight. Avoid sugar, bread, pasta and anything made with them and you'll lose weight. Eat low-calorie, vegetable-heavy meals and you'll lose weight.
turtleshell101 | Student

I think carbs are good for you if you want to be full for a long time. Carbohydrates have large molecules that take a while to digest.

alystone | Student

It all depends whether you are an active person. If you are then carbohydrates are good for you as they are the best source of energy which you need to perform at your best and have enough energy. However, if you are not active and eat a lot of things like pasta, rice, potatoes and chips, these will turn into stored fat in your body and will then not provide any benefit to you accept make you overweight. Getting rid of these stored fats is particularly difficult and requires rigourous dieting and exercise as they will not be reverted to until all other energy sources have been consumed. So, they can be good and bad depending on your energy needs.

emilymisquita | Student

To meet the body's daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates.

Choosing carbohydrates full of fiber that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels can reap  health benefits Good carbs are plant foods that deliver fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals along with grams of carbohydrate, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.These carbs also take longer to digest in your stomach, helping you to feel fuller for longer periods of time. This means that you are less likely to overindulge on these types of carbs and gain weight.

Sugars and refined grains and starches supply quick energy to the body in the form of glucose. That’s a good thing if your body needs quick energy, for example if you’re running a race or competing in sports but if you are not then  its  all "bad carbs."Bad carbohydrates are the simple carbs found in refined foods,and contain little nutritional benefit. Additionally, because they are broken down so quickly in the body, they can actually cause you to feel hungrier faster.

Focus on consuming good, complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates as it  will help you to feel fuller longer while providing your body with a good supply of energy.

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