Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Why Carbohydrates Matter to You
The right type of carbohydrates can boost your health!
What Are The Good Carbs?
Most of us know what the good carbs are: plant foods that deliver fiber,
vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals along with grams of carbohydrate, such
as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. You can’t judge a carb as
“good” without considering its fiber content (unless it’s a naturally low-fiber
food like skim or low-fat milk).
Why Fiber in Carbohydrates Counts
Fiber is the part in plant foods that humans can’t digest. Even though fiber
isn’t absorbed, it does all sorts of great stuff for our bodies.
Fiber slows down the absorption of other nutrients eaten at the same meal,
- 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
“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
To get some fiber into almost every meal takes a little effort. Here are
- 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).