It's time to separate the "bad from the good carbohydrates". Called 'carbs' for short, some people think this essential nutrient is anything but essential...and we can survive on protein and fat alone (Keto anyone?) But if we stop and consider what the body truly needs..then you'll realize that neither bad carbs or good carbs are the enemy.
Carbohydrates are one of the three main nutrients everybody needs to survive and thrive. Without carbs, the body has no energy to think or act and will soon shut down. So it is essential to eat carbs, but it is also important to know what types of carbs are best to eat when and in what context. There are two types of carbohydrates:
Each type of carb has different qualities that make it ideal to consume at different times and for different reasons.
A simple carb or in some instances a bad carb, is fast acting and great when we need to raise our low blood sugar or energy in a hurry. Some examples of simple carbs are honey, candy, sugar, juice. Most of these are processed foods and not a healthy option to carb up on. A healthier simple carb option is whole fruit, which has the fiber and nutrients that aid in digestion and when eaten with protein and fat slows down the absorption and the rise in blood sugar.
Simple Carb Options - berries, apples, kiwi, pears, nectarines, peaches, oranges, bananas, figs, and mango, or as wedges from larger fruit, such as pineapple, melons, and papaya. Remember to eat proper serving sizes.
Bad Carb TIP - An apple or banana with a few teaspoons of all natural nut butter. This combination of carbs + protein + fat turns a simple carb. into a more complex carb, with more balanced macro-nutrients!!
The good carbs or complex carbs, our body likes these over a simpler carb because they contain fiber and take longer to break down, causing a slower rise in blood sugar. When we combine a complex carb with protein and a health fat, the result is even better. Our energy, digestive process and elimination happen at a steady and healthy pace.
Complex carbs, also known as real food when we're conscientious of choosing the right options. Consider anything that comes from the earth and not the store shelf as a healthier option that our body knows what to do with and can thrive when eaten in moderation.
Complex Carb Options - sweet potatoes, russet and all other potatoes, nuts, beans, quinoa, farro, black rice, edamame pasta, peas, sprouted grains & seeds, root vegetables, all the colorful vegetables and those you love to eat that grow in the soil.
Good Carb TIP - portion size is essential when choosing your favorite complex carbs, remember to fill your plate with vegetables first, add 3 ounces of protein, serving of healthy fat and then add a serving (1/2 cup) of a complex carb to round out your plate of nutrient rich real whole food.
Knowing the facts first to figure out better options when eating bad carbs or good carbs can help us make healthier choices.