Carbohydrates, the great evil. Apparently. Low-carb diets. No carb diets. Something happened, and we all started hating wheat, and that was largely because we were convinced they were making us fat. And it wasn’t just wheat that was getting a bad rap, potatoes were in the bin too.
Which seemed to be oddly out of tune with everything that we were taught as children about the food pyramid. Surely carbohydrates (carbs) were on the bottom? They were what we were meant to be eating the most of. But that was not the gospel being spread by the world of diet trends and health influencers. Carbs were bad and we must avoid them at all costs.
But it seems the world has decided to fall back in love with carbs. Something is shifting in the atmosphere and suddenly no one seems too worried about having them at breakfast, lunch and dinner. What has caused this shift?
Food trends have always gone in shifts. In the 2000s fat was the great evil of the culinary world. We must be avoiding fats at all times, in oils, on meat, and don’t even think about touching butter or full-fat cream milk. But our fears of fats soon gave way to an even greater fear, refined sugar. That stuff was worse than cocaine, or at least that is what everyone seemed to be telling us.
Carbohydrates remained a steady food to watch out for. If you are wondering at this point what it is you are allowed to eat, don’t worry, you are not alone. Disapproval at carbohydrates were expressed regularly. We couldn’t be seen to eat them, not if we wanted to be the picture of health and physical restraint.
And it’s all because of the Atkins diet. Dr Robert Atkins published his popular book back in the 1970s, but it really had its renaissance a few years ago.
So, as we fall back in love with carbs, and the Italian’s laugh at us for ever giving them up in the first place, we should probably have a look at what is actually going on in those complex compounds. After all, what if we suddenly jump back onto the bread bandwagon? A wagon the French never left. They stayed on the fat’s bandwagon too; we really should make sure it’s the right decision.
The first reason to start to enjoying carbs again is because they are just so good. Do I really need to say anymore? No. No, I don’t.
When it comes to the case of carbs, the NHS quotes dietitian Sian Porter, who said, "While we should reduce the amount of free sugar in our diet, we should base our meals on starchy carbs, particularly the higher fibre varieties. There is strong evidence that fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs for example, is good for our health."
And on top of that carbs do wonders for your mood. We already knew this. There’s nothing we would rather do after crying than gorging on carbs. But it’s not just because cake, bread and chips are delicious, carbohydrates are a real chemical mood booster.
And they are so important for our bodies too. The US National Library of Medicine states that carbs are the most important energy source that we have. Why are carbs so important? Not just because they fill us quickly and taste delicious but because they help our body function to its best capacity.
The sugars and starches are broken down for energy and storage, the fibre assists with our digestion, allowing food to pass through our bodies with greater ease. It also assists in regulating our blood, sugar and cholesterol levels.
So, it looks like carbs are back on the menu, finally! I don’t know about you, but I am off for a slice of cake, because that’s healthy right?