Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly

Carbs are not the enemy, but not all carbohydrates are made equal!
Let's look at good and bad carbs. "Bad" carbs are the simple carbohydrates which include sugars found in foods such as fruits and milk products and sugars added during food processing.
Refined grains such as white bread, white rice, normal pasta etc are bad carbohydrates. During the refining process, these grains are stripped of B-vitamins, fiber and certain minerals. In addition, they also have a high glycemic index (GI), negatively affecting blood sugar levels.
Other examples of bad carbohydrates include chips, cookies, sodas, bagels, cake, pastries, pancakes, soda, high fructose corn syrup and baked goods. These foods are low in nutrient density as they have little or no nutritional value and supply a large amount of calories.
According to researchers at Yale University, bad carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits cause falls in blood sugar, affecting the part of the brain that controls impulse. This leads to a loss of self-control and a desire for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. A diet high in calories contributes to weight gain, which increases the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and other life threatening diseases.
Okay, I hear your cries of pain, these are all yummy foods! You don't have to TOTALLY eliminate them from your diet but you do need to restrict how much of these you are eating. You can also find healthier alternatives like using wholegrain instead.
Which brings us to the "Good" carbs.
Whole-grain products such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, whole wheat bread, whole oats, buckwheat, millet, whole rye, whole-grain barley and whole-grain corn are considered good carbohydrates. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are beneficial to your health. Also, they have a low glycemic index because they cause a slower change in blood sugar levels. Diets rich in high glycemic index foods cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, thereby increasing the risk for diabetes and heart disease. By contrast, foods with a low glycemic index help you achieve a more stable blood sugar and improve weight loss and control Type 2 diabetes.
Don't forget your veg! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and carbohydrates. Aim for  -2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are high in fiber, carbohydrates and protein and low in fat.
Legumes may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer.
So don't hate on carbs, most are amazing, and a little treat now and again is absolutely okay.

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