Good Carbs x Bad Carbs
What are Carbs? And are all Carbs the same?
Carbs or carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients our body uses for proper functionality. The body cannot produce carbs and the only way to get them is through food. Today we are going to talk about the different kinds of carbs and how they are utilized in our body.
Carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:
1. Sugars: Sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.
2. Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which eventually get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
3. Fiber: Humans cannot digest fiber, although the bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of it.
The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy.
Nutritionally, you should be thinking of Carbs as either:
Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain fiber found naturally in the food. It takes a longer time for our body to digest these carbs and convert them to energy avoiding sudden sugar spikes. Whole carbs are also loaded with vitamins and minerals and have a high nutritional value.
Fruit, Starchy vegetables, Beans, Corn, Whole grains and Legumes fall in this category.
Refined carbs are made of one or two sugars and get digested and absorbed into our body very quickly causing sudden bursts of energy. This leads to spikes in our blood sugar levels and gives a sugar high! This high dies down quickly, making us crave for more sugar. These types of carbs are associated with Obesity and Type-2 Diabetes.
Table sugar, Candy, Carbonated Drinks, Syrups, Honey, Agave Nectar, Cake, Pastries, Muffins, Bagels,Bread and Pasta fall in this category.
We have been told that multigrain bread, pasta, crackers etc. are better than those made with white flour as they are higher in fiber and have a relatively lower glycemic index and we choose them thinking we are making a healthy choice, but the truth is that even complex carbohydrates that do not come from real food are highly processed and have added sugar in them. It is ok to include them in your diet but it is important to check labels and see how much added sugar and preservatives they contain.
So, what are the healthiest carbohydrates that you should include in your diet?
The general rule is that good carbs are the ones that:
– Come from natural sources
– Are loaded with natural fiber
– Are made without added sugar
– Are made without added sodium
– Are locally produced where you live
Also, some whole carbs like bananas, mangos, papaya and pineapple have a very high glycemic index and even if the sugar in them is natural it is best of have these fruits post workout or in the most active part of your day.
Here is a list of my 10 favorite carbohydrates. I always pick food that is fresh and organic.
1. Potatoes – love all kids of potatoes
2. Butter Nut Squash
4. Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries
5. Rice – White and Brown
6. Beans – I love Lima beans and Kidney beans
7. Lentils – Moong , Masoor , Toor
So here’s the deal, not all carbs are equal and “good carbs” like Berries, Potatoes and Legumes are not bad for you! In fact, they are really important for your body and should be included in your meals.
Also, eating other carbs like multigrain bread, pasta and pizza is not bad if you eat them in moderation and make sure you are exercising and burning off those calories, as anything that does not get utilized by your body gets converted to body fat!
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