Why Carbs are not the Bad Guy
For too many years, the media has sold us the virtues of a low-carb (or no-carb) diet, promising excellent weight loss results if we stick mainly to meat and other low-glucose protein sources. However, recent studies have shown that if there is one diet that promotes lasting cardiovascular health and a healthy weight, this is surely the Mediterranean diet, which relies mainly on health, seasonal fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (such as extra-virgin olive oil and Omega-3-rich fatty fish such as wild salmon and tuna), and whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and herbs and spices. Studies have also shown that it isn’t carbohydrates, per se, that cause us to pack on the pounds, if not refined, high-sugar carbohydrates such as those found in junk food, cookies, crackers and the like. These are just a few reasons why you should include plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet:
- Plant-based foods lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 20%: Evidence for the health benefits of a semi-vegetarian diet (a diet rich in fruits and vegetables) was recently presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.
- A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reverse metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a series of factors which, taken together, can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. These factors include having a high waist circumference, high glucose levels, high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found that a Mediterranean-style diet, which involves daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, can help reverse metabolic syndrome. Another study undertaken by scientists at King’s College in London, has also found that this type of diet lowers blood pressure and protects the heart.
- Fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight and keep it off healthily: According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.” Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, yet the media continues to foster a ‘diet culture’ in which severe calorie and carbohydrate restrictions are lauded. A recent study carried out at the University of California found that participants on a vegan diet lost more weight than those placed on omnivorous and semi-vegetarian diets, respectively. This isn’t to say that a vegan diet is for everyone, though the results point out that despite consuming copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, people can and do lose weight, without the need for starvation and without putting their health in jeopardy.
- Fruits and veggies are vital for beautiful skin: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which are natural free radical scavengers. They, therefore, can help keep skin firm and wrinkle-free for many years to come.
- Fruits and vegetables help you live longer: A diet which revolves around life-giving fruits and vegetables is linked to a longer life, since it is linked to greater telomere length. Telomeres are located at the end of chromosomes; they prevent damage and maintain the genetic code. The longer telomere length is, the longer is one’s life expectancy and the lower one’s risk of age-related illnesses.
About Helen France
Helen France spent many years in the healthcare sector, helping people in matters relating to diet, nutrition and fitness. When she became a mother, she decided to focus her energies on looking after her own family and now regularly researches and writes, contributing to health and wellness blogs across the web.
The views and opinions of guest authors do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Full Circle.