Carbs do not deserve the bad rap they often get. Especially when it comes to your weight. The thing to understand is that some carbs are better than others, and your body needs the good kind to work properly. They are naturally found in many plant based foods and drinks, and food makers add carbs to processed foods.
Sources of natural good carbs include, fruits, veggies, milk, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes. Understand that the labels reading “low carb” or “net carbs” are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so there isn’t a standard meaning nor any accountability for the makers of such items.
There are three types or carbs:
Sugar is the simplest carb and is a natural part of foods like fruits, veggies,
milk and milk products.
Starch is made of units of sugar bonded together and is a natural part of veggies,
grains and cooked peas or dry beans.
Fiber is also units of sugar that have bonded, while also being a part of fruits,
veggies, whole grains and cooked peas or dry beans.
Carbs do a whole lot for your body including…
Providing energy. You’ve heard that your body uses carbs as a fuel source. The
extra glucose you don’t use is stored in the liver, muscles and other cells for
later use, or is stored as fat.
Protecting against disease. There is some evidence that has found whole grains
and dietary fiber help cut the risk of heart disease. Fiber might also offer
protection for type 2 diabetes and help fight obesity and promoting digestive
Controlling weight. Evidence finds that eating lots of veggies, fruits and whole
grains can control your weight. The bulk and natural fiber content keep you feeling
fuller and thus eating less food. There are very few studies that find a diet
rich in healthy carbs leads or either weight gain or obesity.
When it comes to carbs and weight loss, you’ve likely heard the term “glycemic index”. This index classifies foods that have carbs according to how much they could raise your blood sugar. Healthy foods are low on the glycemic index, thus weight loss plans will typically restrict the foods at the high end of the glycemic index… yummy stuff like potatoes and corn.
Here are some tips for getting healthy carbs into your diet…
Choose fiber rich veggies and fruits, and aim for whole fresh or frozen varieties
that don’t have added sugar. Fruit juices and dried fruits aren’t as good.
Choose whole grains, as they are healthier choices than the refined grains we’re
used to eating. Whole grains have more fiber and other key nutrients like selenium,
potassium and magnesium.
Don’t skimp on the beans and legumes, as they are among the most versatile and
nutritious food choices you can make. Legumes are low in fat, have no cholesterol
and are loaded with folate, potassium, iron and magnesium… all good for you.
There are also lots of beneficial fats, plus both soluble and insoluble fiber.
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Which Carbs For A Healthy Diet Continued…
Go for low-fat dairy for your milk, cheese, yogurt and other foods as these are
great natural sources of calcium, protein and many other essential vitamins and
minerals. The low fat helps cut the calories and saturated fat you’re taking
Limit added sugars and refined grains, while not harmful in small amounts there’s
no advantage to eating lots of added sugar. Too much can bring on health problems
like tooth decay and poor nutrition while also helping you pack on the pounds.
So how many carbs are enough? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for American call for carbs to make up 45-65% of your total daily intake of calories. A 2,000 calorie a day diet would allow for 900 to 1,300 (225-325 grams) of the total calories from carbs.
Look for the carb content on a package in the Nutrition Facts area of the label. This is where you will find total carbohydrates and possibly total fiber, soluble fiber and sugar. Online sources are also great places for finding nutrient information – check the website of a manufacturer for details or use a nutrient calculator.
To your good health,