Not all carbs are bad for you. Learning the difference between bad carbohydrates and good carbs is important for a healthy diet.
Food & Drink
Carbohydrates or carbs for short have become the villain of our diets. Diet authors and diet marketers have declared the carb as bad for our diets, bad for our health and the cause for the rise in obesity, diabetes and a host of other illnesses.
You can read how someone became overweight from eating carbs. Or a health study’s conclusion was that participants gained weight while on a high carbohydrate diet compared to a low carbohydrate diet. Many times, what the diet marketers don’t tell you is what type of carbs these people were eating. It usually turns out that yes; they were eating a lot of carbs, the bad carbs like cookies, cakes, donuts, white bread and the rest of the bad carbs. Of course someone eating those will gain weight, not to mention sugar is also a carbohydrate. In too many studies, the participants didn’t even know what kind of carbs they were eating, whole grain, white flour, cracked flour or exactly what kind. Their conclusion, all carbs are bad and cause weight gain.
Why We Need Carbohydrates
The different types of carbohydrates are simple carbs (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starch and dietary fiber). Both carbohydrates turn into glucose in our body and that is what the body uses as fuel, energy and replenishing the muscles.
We need to eat three groups of foods for good health. These are fats, protein and carbohydrates. Some diet marketers try to make us believe that we shouldn’t eat any or hardly any carbohydrates, but that wouldn’t be healthy. Our body needs carbohydrates for the following important functions:
· Carbs are broken down and used for energy since it is the body’s main source of fuel.
· Every cell in our body uses carbohydrates for energy and the health of the cells.
· The organs, muscles and the central nervous system need carbs to function properly. The heart also needs carbohydrates for healthy functioning. Remember, the heart is also a muscle.
· The fibers in carbohydrates are important for a healthy digestive system.
It is in carbs that you will find both kinds of fiber (soluble and insoluble), vitamins, minerals and many phytochemicals you cannot get from protein or fats.
The Bad Carbs
Bad carbs are usually thought of as the simple carbs, like sugar, soda pop and fruit juices. Bad carbs also include the over processed highly refined carbohydrates like white flour, white bread, white rice, cookies, cakes, donuts and anything else made with these refined products. There are really no bad carbs in nature; the bad carbs are man-made. In nature, carbohydrates have plenty of fiber and nutrients; it is only after the processing that takes the fiber and nutrients out that causes carbohydrates to become bad carbs.
When you see labels that say enriched bread; that means they have put some of the vitamins and nutrients back into the bread after they had already been processed out. These added vitamins are usually man-made substitutes and not as good as the vitamins and minerals that were originally in the grain, and enriched certainly doesn’t mean that all of the nutrients were added back in.
How Bad Carbs Affect Our Health
When you eat refined carbohydrates or simple carbs, they are digested rapidly into glucose, causing the pancreas to make insulin. Insulin tries to put the glucose into the liver, muscles and cells. If too much glucose is put into the system too quickly, the pancreas continues to put out more and more insulin. Over time this can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
With continual eating of the highly refined bad carbs, the glucose levels stay high. Insulin cannot work fast enough, the liver in a sense runs out of storage room and the rest of the unused glucose is converted to and stored as fat. Usually belly fat.
This rapid digestion into glucose can give a quick rise in energy but dissipates quickly, leaving you hungry and tired. A simple carb can be good in certain athletic competitions, but in everyday life, the quick burst of energy means a quick return to hunger and worn out feeling, which just makes you eat more, sooner, without ever using up that quick energy. So it is stored as fat.
The more natural or unprocessed a carbohydrate is, the more of a good carb it is. A list of good carbs would be vegetables, long grain and brown rice, whole grain bread, quinoa, whole grain pasta, fruit, white and sweet potatoes.
The good carbohydrates do not flood our body with high amounts of glucose all at once, and the fiber that is naturally in good carbs, slows down the digestion of carbohydrates so our body isn’t overwhelmed trying to make insulin.
Eating all kinds of vegetables is a great way to get the good carbs and their nutrients. As a consumer, it is hard to know if we are buying and eating whole grains or some kind of refined grain with misleading words in the ingredients. The first ingredient should say whole wheat, whole oats or some other whole grain, if it doesn’t, then it most likely is not whole grain.
You can’t really go by the fiber count, since a product that is highly refined flour could have fiber added. But that wouldn’t be the natural kind of fiber that was already there and taken out by the refining process.
One reason for the rise in obesity is that the average diet has become so full of the processed and refined bad carbs. Not the good carbs. Simple carbs like sugar, high corn fructose syrup soda pops and fruit juices along with the highly refined breads and buns, rice and pasta can add pounds of fat to your body each year.
There are far more studies that show a diet high in good carbohydrates are healthy for us than they are bad for us . By limiting the amount of good carbs in your diet, you are depriving yourself of healthy minerals, phytochemicals and fiber that you cannot get from the other food groups. Just remember to eat the whole unprocessed and unrefined good carbohydrates.
© 2010 Sam Montana
Resources and related articles
 Worlds Healthiest Foods Carbohydrate Studies
Nutrition Action Report
Harvard School of Public Health
Why Belly Fat is Dangerous to Your Health
Healthy Food and Nutrition Articles
Add a comment
great article-in depth look at the different carbs. I think that
all the fad diets that focus on reducing total carbs (which is
vital to our health and energy levels) are just trying to make a
quick buck off of the millions of people that want to lose weight.
Its good to educate ourselves about these things so we dont get
taken for a ride. Thanks.
Good article. Carbs get a bad rap just like fats do, so that the
newest fad diet book, or diet supplements can be sold. Bottom line
is that we need fats, and we need carbs. It is not that the fats
and carbs are bad, it is where we get them from. Face it, take
carbs out, take out the fats, you are eating nothing but sugar,
salt and chemicals. The bottom line is if we take in more calories
than we burn, we are going to gain weight. Fad diets, the yo yo
syndrome slows down metabolism.
Really very good article,I am always so confused wether i should
eat the whole grains everyday or not,Because they are fully loaded
with carbs i am unable to decide is it good to eat or not
eventhough they have soluble fiber,Now i can eat them
Hi Karina, it is especially annoying when you read all carbs
lumped together, white refined and whole. I do beleive you can lose
weight by limiting some carbs for a while, but a diet that has no
carbs is not that healthy. I think I was eating just too much
whole-wheat bread and brown rice. When I limited those amounts I
did notice I lost some weight.
Great article. I've always thought that carbs are unfairly
demonized by publicity (or profit?)-hungry diet "experts".
There are some real flaming arguments on the Internet from
people who defend the high protein low-carb diets. I don’t
know why it is that way, but it is. Dr. Eads (and his wife) have
come out with some books that have really stated that carbs are the
enemy and that saturated fat actually cleans the liver and arteries
and stops heart disease. I wrote about that in the article Diets
and More Diets. There is plenty of protein without the saturated
fat in beans, legumes and quinoa. Soda pop has some chemicals that
are bad besides HFCS. Carbs have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9
calories per grams.
Since fat has twice the calories of carbs, it makes sense that
carbs are not the villain. I believe we must have a healthy balance
of good carbs, good fats and protein... I've quit eating meat for
the most part.. I eat a slice of turkey sandwich meat every day...
but that is about it.. I get my proteins from pinto beans and other
types of beans.. I've lost several inches since last summer. Low
carb diets only work for a short time.... in the end, it still
comes to less calories in and more calories spent for energy. I've
also stopped drinking soda pops too.. no diet cokes or anything.
Water has been my main beverage now... and I feel much better.
If that were the reason a person was thin, stress from being
bullied, intimidation or stress, they wouldn’t be hungry, so
there would nothing they could eat to gain weight and be nourished.
Stress can take everything out of a person. The way for a person to
be nourished in a situation like that would be to fix the problem
of the stress and intimidation. If a person were losing weight from
a stressful situation like that, a protein shake with added fruit
and yogurt would help along with a good multivitamin. Depending on
the reason for stress, a person can eat more junk food or not feel
hungry at all. If they don’t feel hungry, they aren’t
going to really be able to eat or hold it down.
I know several people who are thin, and that is because they are
runners. They are very serious into their running. None of them are
undernourished; in fact they probably eat better than many
overweight people. I have seen many undernourished overweight
people before. Thin does not make a person undernourished.
Undernourished and thin could mean drug addicts or people living in
a war torn country.
Barbara, who would you consider undernourished and needs to gain
It's important for people to realize that they need carbs in
their diet for good health. They just need to choose wisely..
I completely agree! This misleading advertising has driven me
crazy for years. Thank you!
Coconut trees are very useful because they have various parts which can be utilized for various purposes. This article provides useful information about the parts of coconut tree and its uses. In fact, its fruit alone has many uses in the field medicine and cosmetics. There have been numerous studie...
Guyabano tree or Soursop (Anona Muricata) is a fruit bearing tree popular in the Philippines and other nearby countries. It produces a spiky, fleshy and fibrous fruit which is very effective in the cure of many health conditions. Some studies have proven its benefits in curing cancer, diabetes and o...
Malunggay (Moringa Oliefera) is one of most common and popular backyard plants in many areas of Philippines, India and Africa; malunggay is the term used for moringa oliefera in the Philippines. These 3 countries have tropical climates which are suitable for cultivating Malunggay trees. In fact, mal...
How much do you know about food and nutrition? See how much you know about juices, animal products, vitamins, chocolates, and more…
Enjoy and answer as many of the sixteen questions related to the food and nutrition as you can. When you are done, scroll down to the bottom of the pag...
There are several methods in preserving fish. Fish preservation involves Chilling and Freezing, Salting, Fermentation, Drying and Dehydration, Smoking, Pickling and Spicing, and Canning.
There is one thing first to consider, make sure that the fish that is going to be preserve is new and still fres...
It is probable that soup in its earliest form was a complete meal, because it was found hearty, nourishing, economical and wholesome. Being a liquid it is absorbed quite easily and is utilized very quickly by the body. Here are the list of the best and popular international soups, eaten widely known...
Rice is the edible grain from a plant also called Rice. Scientifically, Rice is an annual grass in the grass family, Poaceae. Asian rice is classified as Oryza sativa and African rice as Oryza glaberrima. Rice is the primary food for more than half the people in the world. In many regions it is eate...
Breakfast - the most important meal of the day. Don't skip it, they say. But what if you can't help it? What if you simply can't afford breakfast foods anymore?
It was only a few weeks ago that I was patrolling the aisles of my local hypermarket, buying amongst other things breakf...
When it comes to baking things need to be done pretty perfectly. Measurements need to be right on, and baking times must be followed and baked goods watched while cooking. If you are not an experienced cake baker you may find that you don’t know exactly when the cake is finished baking. Ther...
For tens of millions of Americans, bratwurst is a favorite food. Sometimes referred to as "Midwestern soul food," the bratwurst is a German sausage named for the way it is cooked. Traditionally, these sausages are to be "braten," or simmered (never boiled) in water or beer.
Mom Made the best pancakes for Us Back in the 50's and 60's, when Food was Real.
You know how they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well turns out they were right. But why? You may ask.
Well I'll tell you. You just have to know how to make it. I am going to share with you the v...
Did you know that the best fruits against acne, when taken orally, are apple, banana, lemon, pineapple, cherry, strawberry, pear, cantaloupe, grape, and apricot?
The truth is that every individual has a fine skin underneath but not everyone has a pleasant one on the outside, both in terms of health...
Breadings and batters are often used to coat foods that may be fried, such as vegetables (fried zucchini, fried mushrooms, onion rings, etc), seafood and meats (fish, shrimp, pork chops, chicken, etc), and even cheeses and other things (mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, etc). How do you know whet...
Bolivia has a diversity of geographical zones with varied climate, culture and food. Bolivian cuisine has a great variety of dishes mainly meat, fish and poultry blended with herbs and spices. The diet also consists of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Some traditional dishes include 'Majao', which is ...
Do not be alarmed at the picture above, it is only a deep fried Mars Bar. Below you will find a list of Scottish food, some taste better than they sound; some really do sound as if they would taste really bad.
Aberdeen Angus: Scottish breed of beef cattle that has internationally renowned for its q...
Foods that smell good are the most popular in the world. Like for instance, the world’s most favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla because of its cool and enticing smell and fragrance. There are some foods that really smell bad but people seem to enjoy and love them. For others, smelly foods ar...
Fruits and vegetables are source of vitamins and minerals and an important part of our food. The more colourful a food preparation is, it is appetizing as well, but there is another way of decorating the food, which is called 'fruit/vegetable carving'.
The purpose of fruit and vegetable carving is ...
It's not very often that I eat dinner at a restaurant and immediately feel compelled to run home and re-create something from my dining experience. In fact, I don't think that has ever happened, but they say there is a first time for everything. A few weeks ago, while I was visiting my family in Ten...
THE MYTH AND FACTS ABOUT LANZONES
Lanzones or Lansium domesticum is a species of fruit-bearing tree belonging to the family Meliaceae. The plant has pinnate compound leaves that grow to a length of around twenty to fifty centimeters long per leaf. Each fully-grown leaf has five to seven sli...
Solid alcohol is a product many of us are familiar with under its trade name Sterno® that is used for cooking in the great outdoors or to heat chafing dishes for keeping food ingredients warm. The makers of solid alcohol obviously do not want their customers to know how this stuff is made, but i...
Salicornia, also known as glasswort, marsh samphire and sea bean isn't a type of seaweed, but a perennial plant that grows along the coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and feeds on salt water. The main difference between salicornia and seaweed is that salicornia grows just below the ...
The blue or purple potato, botanical name Solanum andigenum, is one of many potato varieties that originate from the Andean valleys of Peru, and in particular the region surrounding Lake Titicaca. Potatoes have been cultivated in Peru and Bolivia for over 6000 years. They were a major food source fo...
This is the best time of year to buy both apples and sweet potatoes and pork pairs really well with both of them. If you have a pressure cooker you could be eating this complete meal in no time. When cooking pork in a pressure cooker keep in mind that the pork will need to cook for 15 mi...
If you look at the Red Velvet Cupcakes pictured below, one thing pops out at you: the rich cream cheese frosting. There is about the same amount of cream cheese frosting atop these red velvet cupcakes as there is cupcake, itself. And for diabetics, that spells danger, with a capital D! There's more ...
Banana flower, also known as banana blossom or heart, is the splendid looking male, sterile flower of the banana plant. The banana plant is the largest of the herbaceous plants and its flowers are large, pointed and often a crimson color, although some varieties are yellow, and others are ...
In about two weeks time you can harvest your nata from coconut water and prepare nata de coco dessert. Just follow these simple steps:
What is your typical grocery shopping experience?
Is it anything like some of mine? I don't know how many times I've gone shopping, armed with a list that I hastily scratched on the back of an envelope, bought my groceries, and got back home only to find I missed some imp...
I am sure that you will agree with me that at some point in our lives, all of us manage to cook an awfully salty dish. Adding too much salt while cooking is a very common mistake. Sometimes the salt just rushes out of the container too fast, and other times food becomes over salty because of th...
Here are the most common Asian noodles you're likely to see in stores or on menus. When shopping, remember that dried noodles will keep indefinitely; fresh ones can be refrigerated two to three days.
Egg Noodles - made from wheat flour and egg.
Varieties include dan mian and hokkien mee (China), b...
These street cold fruit drinks are usually sold using plastic cups or plastic bags with sipping plastic straw. Here are some of the most popular street drinks in the Philippines.
Several local types of “palamigs” are sold in th...
There are studies that support theories of soy causing negative health effects as well as studies that show little to no link between soy and health problems. However, it's important to keep in mind that these effects would only occur after eating large amounts of soy on a regular basis.
i bet you thought the U.S. Department of Agriculture was only interested in farming and farmers. Perhaps today, but back in the 1920s, the Department's Bureau of Home Economics created a wife for Uncle Sam (Aunt Sammy) who would take to the radio to talk about food, cooking, and anything else that p...
Talk about comfort foods, this is one of my family’s favorite soups and rarely are there any leftovers. My kids like to serve this over their cornbread and biscuits with grated sharp cheddar cheese or sour cream.
Legumes are the most versatile and nutritious foods to aid you in your quest for...
Ipomoea aquatica is know as morning glory or water spinach in English and ong choy in Chinese. It is an aquatic plant that grows wild beside waterways and fresh water swamps in many of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical regions. Water spinach is from the Convolvulaceae botanical family and ...
Pastillas de leche are sweet milk candies that are usually served for dessert. They are very easy to serve because you don't need to cook to make pastillas. What we have is a no-cook fast and simple dessert recipe intended to gratify your cravings right away. Also, cooking or heating any recipe is n...
Jewish Foods notes on its website that chopped liver is a popular dish in Jewish cuisine. Chopped liver recipes use chicken or calves’ liver and the resulting spread is served with crackers or rye bread. Jewish Recipes suggests that chopped liver is an acquired taste and when served at meals i...
It is said that in ancient and mediaeval times saffron was worth its weight of gold. Even in today’s time saffron remains much expensive and easily earns the tag of world’s most expensive spice. A pound of fine quality saffron may cost up to US$5,000 in international market.
Chocolate Mug Cake
This chocolate mug cake is really easy to make, it can be made in a matter of minutes. The recipe is made in the microwave in around 3 minutes and contains no egg, so their is no concerns about under cooking. As you can see from the image, the cake was eaten almost as fast as it ...
“Any fruit containing sufficient sugar to taste may be used for making wine. If sugar is lacking in the fruit, cane sugar may be added. The flavor which the wine acquires depends largely on the kind of fruit used.”
1. Cut the peeled bananas into halves. For every kilo of...
BENEFITS OF PILI TREE, PILI FRUIT AND PILI NUTS
Pili tree (canarium ovatum Engl.) is endemic in the Philippine archipelago: mainly indigenous here in Sorsogon in Bicol region as its center of genetic diversity. They are also spread out and grow in tropical Asia and the Pacific but they are still &l...
My father-in-law loves fast food. Over the years, however, I’ve realized that what he really likes is the predictability of the food. Take him into a mom and pop café in a strange town and he’ll immediately scan the menu for something that looks familiar. When he fails to find any...
Among the many underappreciated wines is Tempranillo, a lovely Spanish red that lends itself to pairing with many foods, from Spanish tapas and paella to Moroccan lamb tajine. Tempranillo is one of the best wines from the Rioja region of Spain, and can be the main component of red wines labeled Rioj...
What is not in doubt is that the dessert was named in honour of the Russian ballet dancer of the 1920’s Anna Pavlova. She toured both countries during her period of fame with both claiming to have created the now famous dish.
Researchers claim that the country that made the original dessert w...
This recipe couldn’t be easier. All you need is 2 boxes of scalloped potatoes from the store, some ham and a few other ingredients. If you work, you can prepare this meal before you leave for work, and it will be done by the time you get home. Your family will not know that this "almost h...
Have you watched tennis? If yes, you must have definitely seen some tennis players eating bananas when they get a break; do you know why they take bananas when there are lots of other fruits available? It is because bananas contain high amount of carbohydrates that will help the players to get the e...
Doctors all over the world accept the importance of salt for good health and life. The medical experts make use of it in dietary therapy to treat or prevent health problems. Saline solution is used in hospital emergency rooms.
Salt: Health Benefits
Sodium is an important chemical element in salt, ...
Nearly all Yemeni Jews now live in Israel, with only a few hundred still living in The Yemen, and others scattered around the world. The Israeli Yemeni traditions are very distinct in all areas of their lives, in their prayer, language, dress and their food. Their traditional foods consist of Yemeni...
Bread is a fundamental part of the dining culture of India; in much the same way as it is in the European countries. There are various types of Indian breads found in the Indian cuisine which are cooked in different ways. Each differs from the other in shape and size, in the ingredients used, and of...
It's that time of the year again where many families with kids sports seasons are in full swing. It is hard to cook dinner and eat as a family when there are mid week games and practices. This is the time of year when having a crock pot is very practical. When you prepare your meal...
Papaya is a tropical fruit and grows mainly where the weather conditions are tropical. Papaya, also known as Carica papaya, looks like long melons. Papaya can be consumed raw as well as in ripen condition. It is a delicious fruit packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber with only a few calories and ...