FOCUS on Healthy Carbs
Carbohydrates have been in and out of favor over the past four decades. This has run the spectrum from low fat diets which replaced fat with carbohydrates, to the elimination of carbs almost completely. Both of these measures were extreme and when it comes to healthy eating, it is all about a variety of foods in moderation. Studies reveal it is the type of carbohydrate that is important for optimal health. Let’s focus on these healthy carbs.
Carbohydrate – Basics
Carbohydrates have been categorized as “simple” meaning sugar, or “complex” referring to starch. These categories no longer adequately describe the qualities of carbohydrates and when it comes to optimal health, all carbohydrates are not created equal.Recent studies have focused on the type of carb:
What are Healthy Carbs?
Foods to select include fresh fruit and vegetables, beans and lentils, and whole grains such as barley and quinoa.
These foods are high in fiber, rich in phytonutrients, have a lower glycemic index (GI) or glycemic load (GL) and nutrient dense.
GI ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar levels. GL takes into account both the GI and the amount of carbohydrate in a food and how both impact blood sugar.
There are some carbohydrate-rich whole foods that have naturally occurring sugar such as fruit and to a much lesser degree, vegetables. In their fresh whole form, these foods contain fiber and are nutrient dense, so the natural sugar is not a major concern. Just be mindful of the portion size when having fruit. If you are diabetic or have insulin resistance, pair fresh fruit with protein to minimize spikes in blood sugar.
TIP: A small apple or 17 small grapes with low-fat string cheese is a great snack.
The Bottom Line:
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