Make Healthy Carbs Part of Your Healthy Diet Plan
Healthy carbs are complex carbs. Unhealthy carbs are simple. The difference means a lot to your health and weight-loss goals.
Cut Out the Junk
Although I believe cutting down on carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, not all carbs are created equal. You definitely want to cut down on and even eliminate if possible, the simple carbohydrates found in most junk foods. These foods include:
- Ice Cream
- Doughnuts and other Pastries
These foods contain loads of sugar and/or white flour, which are simple carbohydrates.
Avoid the White
Although not typically thought of as junk food, white pastas, white bread and white rice are more simple carbs that should be avoided. The problem with simple carbs is that they are highly refined foods that lack the fiber of whole foods. They can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, increasing your risk of diabetes and other diseases as well as make you fat. Whole wheat products are a little bit better, but not much.
Eat Whole Foods
The best carbs are complex carbs. They are found in whole fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain and sprouted grain products. Complex carbs contain fiber, which slows down the digestion and helps to prevent blood-sugar spikes. They also contain nutrients that are lacking in the simple carbs.
The best carbs to eat are:
- Raw or cooked vegetables, but limit white potatoes.
- Fresh or frozen fruits. Just be sure frozen fruit doesn’t have any added sugar. And don’t drink your fruit. Fruit juice lacks the needed fiber.
- Nuts – Limit these to a couple of handfuls per day if you’re trying to lose weight. They are high in calories.
- Seeds – Limit these for the same reason.
- Legumes (beans)
- Whole and sprouted grains
Check the Label
Whole foods that you prepare at home are best, but if you buy bread, cereal or other processed foods, be sure to check the nutrition label. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a good rule-of-thumb is to look for a carbohydrate to fiber ratio of 10 to 1. In other words, there should be at least 1 gram of fiber for every 10 grams of carbohydrates. They found these foods to have on average; less sugar, sodium and trans-fats.
When choosing a diet program or designing your own, low-carb doesn’t mean no-carb. Carbohydrates are necessary for optimal health. Just be sure you’re including healthy carbs in the form of whole foods and you’ll do fine.