Carbohydrates – Which ones we need, which we don’t!

OMG the “C” word!  Carbohydrates or “Carbs” as many call them, have become the unnecessary villains in nutrition.

I say “unnecessary” because carbs are NOT the enemy.  In fact, our body NEEDS them for energy

Too often I hear people say they’ve given up carbs to lose weight.  AND I JUST CRINGE.  NO! We need carbs people!

Now, before you go running in sheer joy to grab a scone, hear me out: There are some types you should avoid, and today I’m going to talk about the “good”, “bad”, and “ugly” ones so you can know how to make better choices.

Good carbs, I am going to call “whole” carbs.  These are unprocessed, contain fiber and are found naturally in food.  Some examples of these are vegetables (yes! veggies are carbs), legumes, lentils, whole fruit, and whole-grains.  These foods are high in nutritional density, and when eaten in the right amounts, do good things for our bodies.

Bad carbs, I am going to call “refined” carbs.  These are carbs where the food has been altered in some way which removes the nutritional density of the food they came from.  Fruit juice, white flour, white pasta, and white rice are some examples.  Why? Because they are not eaten in “whole” form.  The fiber has been stripped out of these to make them taste better.  It’s these carbs that should be avoided.  They tend to really spike blood sugar levels, which lead to a crash, often resulting in more hunger.  And that’s when those extra calories go in.  Being short on nutrients means they don’t do anything great for our bodies either – other than make our clothes tight.

Ugly carbs, I am going to call added sugar.  This powdered (or liquid) form of only the sugar part of the carbohydrate is the worst.  Added sugar is linked to several chronic diseases.  Examples of these are cookies, pastries, candy, c, mithai, sweetened juices, yogurts, etc.  And be careful, brown sugar, agave, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup are just different forms of added sugar.  Think of these as “treats” and something that can be indulged in very small amounts.



Mona Chona is a Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and specializes in fitness programs designed for real life. Feel free to inquire.

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