For some reason, most women who begin diets start by swearing off ‘carbs.’ Many believe that carbs are only in the forms of bread, sugars, and other rich foods. While this is true, not all carbs are bad. In fact, we need carbs to survive.
Carbs, short for carbohydrates, are organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues, including sugars, starch and cellulose. They are broken down to release energy. That is why endurance athletes thrive on carbs to keep energy levels up.
The difference between good carbs and bad carbs are whether they are refined or not. Natural carbs come in the form of spinach, tomatoes, nuts, seeds, eggs, soy products, unsweetened dairy products, whole grain, coffee, tea, olives, popcorn, fresh/frozen meats, kidney beans, wheat bread and carrots. Refined carbs are white breads, white rice, French fries, cookies, pizza, potato chips, corn syrup, molasses, all types of flour, table sugar, and fruit juice concentrates.
Natural and refined carbs are stored in the body differently. Natural (good) carbs are full of fibers that slowly get absorbed into our bodies, avoiding spikes in blood sugar. Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are great sources of natural sugar and fiber. Because these natural (good) carbs avoiding escalating our blood sugar, they reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a Web MD article. The American diet is notorious for not including enough fiber into our diets.
Now, onto the refined (bad) carbs. The “whiter” or more refined the product is, the less fiber it includes. This could be a hot dog bun, a muffin, a bagel, or white rice. You wonder why doctors tell us to eat more fruits and vegetables? They are full of fiber, and because those refined foods have little nutritional value.
Lookout for added sugar, white grains, and any other corn syrup, or additive you don’t recognize. It doesn’t take long for those who consume primarily refined foods for their health to plummet and weight gain to increase.
Always read labels and learn the difference between good and bad foods you are eating. Most importantly, next time you go on a diet, don’t swear off all carbs.
How do you feel about carbs?