“Carbs are bad for you.”
“Carbs make you gain weight.”
“You should stay away from carbs.”
Have you ever heard someone say one of these things to you?
Carbs get a bad rap when compared to other foods because they are often associated with weight gain. Breads, sugar, and pasta are often the biggies that are put on the “no-no” list. In reality, some carbohydrates can be your friends. You just may not want all of them to be your BFFs.You can have a healthy lifestyle with carbs still in your diet. You just need to know what to put on your plate and what to pass on because some carbs are bad for you.
Dietary guidelines suggest carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of our diets. Good carbs are found in fruits, vegetables and natural grains. Lentils and beans are a great source of carbohydrates because they also contain protein and fiber. These help to keep you feel full longer. We all know if you’re full, you won’t eat as much, so you can maintain or lose weight easier.
When opting for fruits and vegetables, be sure to choose the fresh option over canned. They’ll have fewer sugars, so they’ll be better for you.
Dairy products can also be a good source of carbohydrates, just as long as you’re choosing the low-fat options. As with the canned fruits and veggies, this will lower your sugar intake.
Now that we know we can be friends with some carbs, we need to know which ones we may want to throw in the acquaintances pile.
White bread, white rice, fried potatoes all fall into the bad carb category. Foods that are higher in sugar and lower in fiber are not good if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
One of the factors you want to look at is the glycemic index, especially if you’re diabetic. The glycemic index will tell you how fast a food will increase your blood sugar. This is obviously important for people with diabetes. When choosing carbohydrates you want to look for foods with a lower glycemic index. These foods are better for you all around.
Pastries, donuts, cookies, etc.…all the foods that may make your taste buds dance around are part of the ugly carb group. Anything that is refined or processed falls into this category. Although it may taste really good, a donut is not the best choice if you’re counting carbs and trying to lose weight. As much as you may hate it, you should restrict these types of foods.
If you’re still confused or concerned about your carb intake, read the labels. Foods contain nutritional labels that will list the amount of carbohydrates. Add up the milligrams for the day and you’ll know whether you’re in your target zone.
You can also ask your doctor for advice to come up with a diet tailored to your specific needs. This may be the best route if you’re worried about carb overload.