Why Carbs are Important
Your body needs energy to function and carbohydrates are your body’s number one source of energy. The brain, nervous system, and red blood cells rely exclusively on carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) for fuel. Your brain requires 130 grams of carbohydrates per day to function normally! If you want optimal function it is likely that you will need more than that. For most healthy adults, carbohydrates should make up about 45-65% of your total daily calories.
Cravings and Appetite
Consuming an adequate amount of carbohydrates each day will lead to fewer cravings and binges. When you are not providing your body with enough of its number one source of energy, you will crave it. Including an adequate amount of carbs in your day will also help to stabilize your hunger through increasing the production of serotonin. Aim to get your carbohydrates from whole food sources likes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains most of the time, but make sure to leave room for the fun stuff sometimes too.
Carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables contain fiber which can help to reduce constipation, lower cholesterol, and control blood sugars. Eating adequate amounts of carbohydrates will also benefit your mental health as you will be able to think more clearly and perform better in school and at work.
Nutrition recommendations vary by individual. If you have questions about how many carbohydrates you should be eating make sure to contact a dietitian!
Mary Cate is a dietitian with CHI Health Weight Management. Her love of food and nutrition stems from many years of playing sports and growing up in a family that loves to cook. Her goal is to help people learn that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and that it should be an enjoyable part of our lives.