Good Carb, Bad Carb: What’s all the fuss about?
Whether you’re focused on a plant-based, Paleo or Ketogenic diet, losing weight or simply being a healthier eater, there is one theme in common these days: watch your carbs. What’s all the fuss about carbs?
- Good carbs, basically are plant based and loaded with fiber. Our bodies absorb these carbs slower than the bad carbs, so that we avoid any glucose spikes. Eating more fiber-based carbs can help to keep chronic disease at bay. Studies have shown that low-fiber diets, or one that is heavy on the bad carbs, put us at greater risk for heart disease. Eating more fiber, slows our digestion, which helps us to feel satiated and therefore can be an aid to weight loss, as you’re not as prone to cravings and binge-eating. Cutting out carbs to lose weight is in fact a key reason that many people choose to reduce their carb intake. Certain types of fiber can also help to lower our cholesterol. The importance of fiber is why the keto diet subtracts the fiber content from the overall carb count of a food. For instance 1.5 cups of kale has 18g of carbs, but 12g of fiber. So this only counts as 6 grams of your daily carb intake. So if you’re trying to figure out if something is a good carb, consider its fiber content, too.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Invest in a spiralizer. Try making veggie noodles out of zucchini or carrots. In 4.5 cups of zucchini noodles there isapproximately 20 grams of carbs, but when you subtract the 10 grams of fiber, it’s just 10 grams of carbs.
- Just rice it. Try cauliflower or broccoli rice. Similar to zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli are incredibly low on the carb front.
- Above ground veggies. Basically, the key low carb veggies are the ones grown above ground. Leafy greens, bell peppers, asparagus and cruciferous veggies. Potatoes and root vegetables, those that grow in the ground tend to be higher in carbs.
- An apple a day. Looks like an apple a day will in fact help keep the doctor away. As will many fruits—kiwis, melon, peaches, even strawberries all make the cut.
- Avocado anyone. When in doubt, eat an avocado. One avocado has just 3 grams of carbs, but 12 grams of fiber. It is high in healthy fats, but that’s okay.
- Go nuts. If you’re not too concerned about calories, nuts also have a high fiber count to offset the carbs. Walnuts and pecans in particular can be good choices.
8. Choose whole foods. Like beans, some diets exclude whole grains, but again when you’re talking about white rice versus quinoa, go for the quinoa.