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Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Why Carbohydrates Matter to You

The right type of carbohydrates can boost your health!

Why Fiber in Carbohydrates Counts continued...

Fiber slows down the absorption of other nutrients eaten at the same meal, including carbohydrates.

  • This slowing down may help prevent peaks and valleys in your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes. 
  • Certain types of fiber found in oats, beans, and some fruits can also help lower blood cholesterol. 
  • As an added plus, fiber helps people feel full, adding to satiety.

The problem is that the typical American diet is anything but high in fiber.

“White” grain is the American mode of operation: we eat a muffin or bagel made with white flour in the morning, have our hamburger on a white bun, and then have white rice with our dinner.

In general, the more refined, or “whiter,” the grain-based food, the lower the fiber.

To get some fiber into almost every meal takes a little effort. Here are three tips:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Just eating five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will get you to about 10 or more grams of fiber, depending on your choices.
  • Include some beans and bean products in your diet. A half-cup of cooked beans will add from 4 to 8 grams of fiber to your day.
  • Switch to whole grains every single possible way (buns, rolls, bread, tortillas, pasta, crackers, etc).

What Are the Bad Carbs?

  • Sugars
  • “Added” sugars
  • Refined “white” grains

There’s no way to sugarcoat the truth: Americans are eating more sugar than ever before. In fact, the average adult takes in about 20 teaspoons of added sugar every day, according to the USDA’s recent nationwide food consumption survey. That’s about 320 calories, which can quickly up to extra pounds. Many adults simply don’t realize how much added sugar is in their diets.

Sugars and refined grains and starches supply quick energy to the body in the form of glucose. That’s a good thing if your body needs quick energy, for example if you’re running a race or competing in sports.

The better carbs for most people are unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods that contain natural sugars, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk.

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