Carbs Are Not the Bad Guys!

by Paula | March 22, 2013 1:31 am

Carbohydrates have been labeled by certain diet gurus as fat boosting little demons.  Reality needs to be separated from the hype.  The reality is carbohydrates provide an energy source because they are filled with fiber, minerals and vitamins. But they need to be a certain kind of carb; complex carbs, not simple like white bread, white rice and white flour

When choosing from a bowl of pretzels or a bowl of quinoa, the healthy carb is easy to distinguish.  Barbara Rolls, Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, describes a good carbohydrate as the one with a lower calorie density.  Translated that means fewer calories per bite.  Dr. Rolls explains that carbohydrates make up 50%-65% of the average person’s diet.  The optimum percentage would be 45% to 65% as long as that percentage includes fruits and vegetables which many people don’t understand can be carbohydrates.  Some examples would be mangos, grapes, dried fruits, corn and potatoes.

Diets that limit or eliminate carbohydrates give the dieter an opportunity to drop weight faster due to the general nature of carbs being higher in calories.  The difficulty lies for many in being able to stick with such a limiting plan.  The other concern is when you try to go back to a mainstream eating lifestyle, if you don’t learn about healthy eating ‘lifestyle’ changes, you’ll hit some roadblocks.  This means educating yourself of the trade-offs between calories vs. nutrients, healthy cooking processes and proper portion sizes. 

Carbs keep the brain and red blood cells and immune system functioning well. If you can include three ounces of brown rice or farro to roasted vegetables and 3 ounces of lean protein, this is a wise use of calories to include nutrients in your diet.

(photo credit: photo @2012, Flickr)

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