Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Just a few items in our house:)

I have had a few requests to do a post about carbohydrates.  Most of us know there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Remember when The Atkins Diet and The South Beach Diet was all the rage? It was a common thing for someone at the gym see me enjoying some brown rice or fruit and freak out a little because I wast eating a “carb”. Fad diets tend to demonize important things, like carbohydrates, that our bodies actually need to function. You may guess I am not a fan of “diets.” I know, people lost weight on these diets. I knew people who did. They cut out all carbs for some period of time, started losing weight, then gradually started adding carbs back in so they could “maintain” their new weight. The trend I saw was that these people started drifting back into their old habits of eating the wrong carbs and the wrong amounts, and they started to gain the weight back. There are people who do not know the difference, so they still think all carbs are evil and will cause them gain weight. Not true. It is what you choose to eat, and the amount that you eat that will cause this weight gain.

I think ads about diets and the marketing on so-called “healthy foods” have fooled society to really understand what is nutritious to maintain a healthy body. I think everyone needs to start reading labels to find out what you are really eating. I will say it over and over and over, the key to losing weight is to have a balanced, nutritious diet along with physical activity on a daily basis! If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. But that does not mean taking out a whole macronutrient to do so.  And this does not mean depriving yourself of having some indulging foods for the rest of your life either. It just means educating yourself and adopting a nutritious and healthy plan that you can maintain and be happy:)

There are three macronutrients the body requires to fuel necessary processes in order for it to function properly. They are

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Protein
  3. Fat

People believe carbohydrates make you gain weight. Well, like I said above, all carbs are not equal. Some carbs will lead to weight gain, but others provide important nutrients your body needs for energy and many processes in the body.  It is very important to learn to distinguish between unrefined carbs (good) and refined carbs (bad).

Refined carbs are highly processed. The fiber and many nutrients have been stripped out. Examples are white bread, white rice, cakes, and candies. I consider these empty calories because they provide no nutritional value and may lead to weight gain.

Unrefined carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, fruits and vegetables contain fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They tend to stabilize blood sugar levels while promoting a healthy weight.

The question I hear often, “What are good carbs?”

Good Carbs:

Whole grains

  • 100% whole wheat bread – look at the ingredients to be sure
  • brown rice – preferably the kind you have to cook yourself
  • quinoa – try it out, very tasty
  • whole oats – not the “quick” instant kind
  • whole grain barley
  • bulgur
  • 100% whole grain cereals – be sure to look at ingredients/should contain very little sugar

Fruits and Vegetables – They contain many important nutrients. They are good because they are packed with fiber and vitamins and minerals. They help you feel full:)

Legumes – Beans, lentils, dried peas and peanuts are all examples of legumes. They are good because they have protein and are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals which will keep you feeling full longer.

Bad Carbs:

White carbohydrates – this category contains many different foods such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta, foods made with white flour etc. (refined carbs). Any food that contains sugar such as candy, chocolates, cakes, muffins, cookies and sugary drinks are refined carbs. They have no nutritional value and should be limited. They provide empty calories which may lead to weight gain.

I hope this helps if you are confused about carbohydrates. Remember, a balanced diet that includes quality nutritious foods is ideal. Remember, these are my opinions and are not meant to substitute for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor for nutrition and exercise changes.

What carbs are in your pantry?


About nthefitzone

Hi, my name is Allyson. I am a 40 something yoga and Pilates teacher. This blog documents my passion for yoga, Pilates, running, strength training, nutrition, and healthy cooking. I hope to inspire others to find their inner athlete, to get strong and healthy, to set goals and reach them. Age doesn't matter. Anything is possible with hard work, determination, drive, commitment and passion. Follow along for some healthy fun and find your inner athlete. It's in there, just waiting to shine :)

Posted on August 12, 2012, in Carbs, This vs That and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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