To eat or not to eat carbohydrates. that is the question.
There are good carbs and there are bad carbs.
How can we tell the difference and how do we know
what to eat?
The old way of classifying carbohydrates:
Complex Carbohydrates provide fiber, vitamins,
minerals and energy. Some foods that contain complex
carbohydrates are whole grain bread, legumes like peas
and beans, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables.
Simple Carbohydrates are broken down quickly to
provide energy. Simple carbohydrates are found
naturally in milk, fruits and vegetables. Simple carbs
are also found in processed foods like syrup, soda,
and refined sugar found in many processed baked goods.
In this way of classifying carbs, it is recommended that
we limit our intake of simple carbs and get most of our
carbohydrates from complex carbs.
The new way of classifying carbohydrates:
The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly blood
sugar rises after ingesting a food with carbohydrates.
Eating a diet full of foods that have been rated with a
high GI may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes
and heart disease.
Highly processed or highly refined carbohydrates have
been found to have a high GI – foods like white bread,
white rice, white pasta, french fries and refined
Whole foods will have a lower GI – legumes, whole
fruit, and whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, and
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Many other
factors influence the GI of a food. Fiber content,
fat content, ripeness, and type of starch also affect the
GI. Thus some foods like potatoes and bananas have
a high GI.
Diets that advise you to eat a low amount of
carbohydrates have gone part of the way to increase
awareness of the differences of carbs. The Glycemic
Index has also helped us to determine that all carbs are
not created equal. Some kinds of carbohydrates help
promote health, but others actually increase the risk for
diseases like diabetes and coronary heart disease.
What should we eat?
The general rule is that highly processed carbs are not as
good for us as natural carbs. How can we get away from
highly refined foods – it’s everywhere you look!
Here are some techniques for buying food:
1. Educate yourself. learn to read the backs of packages
of food and know the difference between a processed food
and a natural food. (However, if it’s packaged in a box,
bag, or can – chances are it’s processed.)
2. Go to the store with a list.
3. Do not go to the store hungry.
4. Do not go to fast food restaurants. instead try out
diners or restaurants that boast home cooked meals.
5. Get your fruits and vegetables from farmers markets or
farm stands whenever possible. Not only will you save
money, you will also be getting better quality produce.
Read more about The Glycemic Index:
Need help counting your carbs? http://www.NutriCounter.com
The NutriCounter is the right device for helping you monitor your
carbohydrate intake. It stores and tracks nine nutrients including
calories, total fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium,
cholesterol, sugar, and fiber. It’s available in Palm OS and
Pocket PC software or as a hand held unit.