This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Carbohydrates, carbs for short, is generally a misunderstood term among your corporate wellness members. When people hear the word “carb,” they instantly think of breads, cookies, chips, or other treats that, in their heads, automatically equate to extra pounds on the body. Many fad diets, such as Atkins, focus on the elimination of this nutrient, so it’s no wonder that the general population thinks of carbs as a five-letter dirty word.
There's More to Carbs Than Breads and Sweets
The first step in educating those in your corporate fitness center is to remind them that the carbohydrate food group is much wider than just breads and sweets. This group includes vegetables, fruits, and plenty of healthy grain options. Our bodies are made to function best when carbohydrates comprise about 55 percent of our diet. When we overload on the two other nutrients—protein and fat—health problems can occur.
Carbs Are an Important Source of Energy
Secondly, carbohydrates are the main source of energy for exercise as well as your body’s daily functions. Carbs support your body’s central nervous system, so it’s easy to see why people on low-carb or no-carb diets can have trouble focusing on daily tasks, may become irritable, or always seem tired.
There's a Difference Between Complex Carbs and Simple Carbs
Lastly, educate members on the difference between complex carbs, which are higher in fiber and carry more nutrients, versus simple carbs like refined or processed foods. Steer away from phrases like “good carbs” and “bad carbs,” because both versions can be incorporated into a healthy diet. Carbs are not the enemy!