In any diet conversation it is guaranteed to come up, Carbs… good or bad? Carbs have been touted as the feared food in fad diets. And some carbs have also been promoted as a healthful nutrient associated with lower risk of chronic disease.
So which is it? Are carbs good or bad? The short answer is that they are both.
Fortunately, it’s easy separate the good from the bad.
• We can reap the health benefits of good carbs by choosing carbohydrates full of fiber. These carbs get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples: whole grains, vegetables, and beans. These good carbs are the ones we use in our fuelfood.com meals that contain carbohydrates.
• We can minimize the health risk of bad carbs by eating fewer refined and processed carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fiber. Examples: white bread and white rice. These bod carbs also promote fat storage in your body.
Why Carbohydrates Matter
In September 2002, the National Academies Institute of Medicine recommended that people focus on adding good carbs with fiber into their diet. The following statements are based on information given in the report:
• To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.
• There is only one way to get fiber — eat plant based foods. Plants such as fruits and vegetables are quality carbohydrates that are loaded with fiber.
Studies show an increased risk for heart disease with low-fiber diets. There is also evidence that suggests fiber in the diet may help prevent colon cancer and promote weight control.
• Men aged 50 or younger should consume 38 grams of fiber a day.
• Women aged 50 or younger should consume 25 grams of fiber a day.
• Because we need fewer calories as we get older, men over aged 50 should consume 30 grams of fiber a day.
• Women over aged 50 should consume 21 grams of fiber a day.
What Are The Good Carbs?
Most of us know what the good carbs are: plant foods that deliver fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals along with grams of carbohydrate, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. You can’t judge a carb as “good” without considering its fiber content (unless it’s a naturally low-fiber food like skim or low-fat milk). I do not recommend dairy products as we are the only species that drinks other species milk and the only species consuming milk past the weaning period.
Why Fiber in Carbohydrates Count
Fiber is the part in plant foods that humans can’t digest. Even though fiber isn’t absorbed, it does all sorts of great stuff for our bodies.
• 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. This also helps your metabolism.
• 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. Promoting fat loss and cutting cravings.
The problem is that the typical American diet is anything but high in fiber. “White” grain is the American mode of operation: 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 is, the lower the fiber.
To get some fiber into almost every meal takes a little effort. Here are three tips:
• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Just eating five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will get you to about 10 or more grams of fiber, depending on your choices. All fuelfood.com meals contain green vegetables.
• 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. Every fuelfood.com menu contains beans.
• Switch to whole grains every single possible way (buns, rolls, bread, tortillas, pasta, crackers, etc).We stay away from all bread at fuelfood.com but we do use high fiber and protein quinoa pasta.
What Are the Bad Carbs?
• “Added” sugars
• Refined “white” grains
There’s no way to sugarcoat the truth: Americans are eating more sugar than ever before. In fact, the average adult takes in about 20 teaspoons of added sugar every day, according to the USDA’s recent nationwide food consumption survey. 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 diet.
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. Otherwise, this sugar spikes your insulin and causes the body to store fat.
I would even stay away from natural sugars as they have the same effect on your metabolism. These carbs are natural but natural does not necessarily mean “good”.
At fuelfood.com we recommend eating the majority of your carbs in your earlier 3 fuelfood.com meals and then finishing the day with a protein and green vegetable meal.
Eat carbs at the right quantity and the right time to maximize your health and fat loss.
For more information visit www.fuelfood.com
or speak with our knowledgeable staff at toll free 1-844-the-fuel.