How many times have you heard someone say or have you said yourself, “I want to lose weight, so I am eliminating all carbohydrates from my diet.”? I know I hear it on a weekly basis and it reminds me of how much misinformation exists regarding the dreaded “carb.” Fortunately, understanding the difference between good carbs and bad carbs is easy.
Carbohydrates that are high in fiber are considered “good carbs.” Foods with fiber are slowly digested by the body, which helps avoid insulin spikes. Examples of good carbs that should be part of your diet are: vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grain foods.
On the flip side, bad carbs are foods that are low in fiber and most likely, have had any nutritional value stripped away during processing. Examples of bad carbs that you should avoid are: white anything – flour, rice, bread, etc and sweets.
Why not give up all carbohydrates to keep it simple?
Fad diets, such as the original Atkins diet, strictly forbid any and all carbohydrates – good and bad. While some people experienced weight loss by eating no carbohydrates, the fact of the matter is such a restrictive diet simply is not sustainable for the long haul. You will eventually succumb to inevitable carb cravings because the human body needs carbohydrate to function. Again, it is important to remember the type of carbohydrate that the body needs to operate at its best – carbs that come from plant and whole grain sources.
An even simpler way to remember the difference between good and bad carbs, is the fact that fiber can only be derived from a plant source. In essence, stick to the mantra, if it does not grow in the ground or on a tree, do not eat it.
So, the next time someone tells you that they are eliminating carbs from their diet, do them a favor and tell them to focus on consuming, whole, minimally processed foods instead. The vitamins and nutrients found in good carbs are too beneficial to eliminate completely from one’s diet.
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