Healthy Carbs

Remember the headlines about how bad carbohydrates are for you? There were so many crazy fad diets popping up everywhere? Does this really mean carbohydrates are BAD for us?

Well, what is a carbohydrate anyway? A carbohydrate is the body’s main source of energy. They turn into sugars or glucose that powers our cells and brain; they give us get-up-and-go.

There are different types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down and absorbed by the body for a quick burst of energy. Complex carbohydrates come from starches such as breads, cereals, pasta, beans and potatoes. These carbohydrates provide more of a gradual energy release and generally are more nutritional than simple carbohydrates.

Fiber, another carbohydrate, is not digested or absorbed by the body. However, it does aid in digestion and offers protection against some diseases. The more processed something is, the more quickly it will raise blood sugar, in addition, processed foods tend to contain fewer vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals as well as fiber. But, enough of the scientific Gobbledygook, let’s look at what that means in our food.

You might be surprised to know that carbs are found in fruits and vegetables as well as bread and pasta. Foods that are refined or processed or “white” foods; white rice, white bread, white pasta, or sugary foods like candy don’t have your best interest in mind. Unprocessed foods are whole-grains like oatmeal and other whole-grain cereals, brown rice, couscous, bulgur, whole-grain bran and fruit. You won’t have to pack in any horse foods to eat a good carbohydrate diet, eat with your eyes and fill your plate with color.

Don’t let the experts brainwash you into giving up the foods you love, just realize that you can fit carbohydrates into your diet in moderate amounts. But, if you did want to go on a lower-carbohydrate diet, just make sure that the carbs you’re eating are healthy: the fruits, the vegetables and a moderate amount of whole grains.