The Truth About Carbs

Good-Carbs-vs-Bad-Carb

The last decade has promoted carbs (carbohydrates) as an evil in diets and healthy eating.  But most people are misinformed and tout the bad about carbs and staving off them.  The truth of the matter is we need carbs.  We simply need to distinguish between good and bad carbs.   Good Carbs are full of fiber. These carbs that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.  Fiber slows down the absorption of other nutrients eaten at the same meal, including carbohydrates.

  • This slowing down may help prevent peaks and valleys in your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Certain types of fiber found in oats, beans, and some fruits can also help lower blood cholesterol.
  • As an added plus, fiber helps people feel full, adding to satiety.

To get more fibre we need to (a) eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will get you to about 10 or more grams of fiber, depending on your choices; (b) include some beans and bean products in your diet. A half-cup of cooked beans will add from 4 to 8 grams of fiber to your day; (c) switch to whole grains every single possible way (buns, rolls, bread, tortillas, pasta, crackers, etc.).   To minimize the health risk of bad carbs we need to eat fewer refined and processed carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fiber. Examples: white bread and white rice.  The problem is that the typical North American diet is anything but high in fiber.  “White” grain has become our way of life (because it’s easy and less expensive): we eat a muffin or bagel made with white flour in the morning, have our hamburger on a white bun, and then have white rice with our dinner.  In general, the more refined, or “whiter,” the grain-based food, the lower the fiber.

  • To nix the bad carbs we need to avoid: Sugars; “added” sugars {sugars, syrups and sweeteners that are added to foods at the table or during processing or preparation – such as high fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages and baked products – that supply calories but few or no nutrients}; refined “white” grains.  We are eating more sugar than ever before. In fact, the average adult takes in about 20 teaspoons of added sugar every day.  That’s about 320 calories, which can quickly add up to extra pounds. Many adults simply don’t realize how much added sugar is in their diets.  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.

The better carbs for most people are unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods that contain natural sugars, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk.  (Be cautious of snacks that tote low cal or low fat, like rice cakes – they also have very little fiber and very little protein.  Without protein, fat or fiber, these carbs are easily digested and  converted to blood glucose very quickly.)

CARBS

So, the truth of the matter, as most experts agree, is that for good health you need a healthy, balanced diet that includes carbs—at least a third of daily calories should come from carbohydrates.  To distinguish between good and bad carbs keep these tips in mind:

  • Skip refined and processed foods altogether
  • Read the label to see if there is added sugar. Be wary of the “-oses” like high fructose corn syrup
  • Choose whole grains (oats, some cereals, rye, millet, quinoa, whole grain and brown rice), beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables
  • Try to have 40% of your total caloric intake come from complex carbohydrates
  • Avoid the lure of low-fat foods, which contain a sizable amount of calories from sugar
  • Avoid the lure of low-carb foods, which sometimes have more calories from fat

The best carbs come from plants:

  • Fresh fruit, ideally those with a low glycemic Index like apricots, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Whole grains and foods made from whole grains, such as certain types of bread and cereal
  • Nuts
  • Legumes

As well as dairy products that are not sweetened with sugar, such as yogurt, sour cream, cheese and milk.

The worst offenders:

  • Refined grains like white bread, white rice and enriched pasta (or anything enriched)
  • Processed foods such as cake, candy cookies and chips
  • White potatoes
  • Sweetened soft drinks
  • Sugar

Carbs Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make good choices. 🙂

~Fit Bitch

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One response to “The Truth About Carbs

  1. Maria

    thanks for posting!! it really relates to that “is bread bad for you” post 😀

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