Good Carbohydrates: Do They Exist?

Low carb diets have been so popular in recent years that you may be wondering if there really is such a thing as good carbohydrates. In fact, its really not an issue of IF but WHAT kinds are good and how much.

Carbohydrates have been getting a bad rap for being high in calories and quick for the body to burn and turn into sugar. However, it is entirely possible to enjoy weight loss while eating carbohydrates.

What Are Good Carbohydrates?

There are a few types of good carbs, but what they all have in common is nutrients and fiber. The body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are available in good carbohydrates like whole grains breads, pastas, rices, and fruits. What makes them good carbs is that they have fiber, nutrition, and provide needed energy. Pack your diet with good carbs that are also low in fat like some of the examples below:

  • brown rice
  • strawberries
  • carrots
  • whole grain tortillia wraps
  • whole wheat pasta

What Are Bad Carbohydrates?

Bad carbohydrates typically fall into two categories: empty calories foods and processed foods. Both types of carbs have very little nutritional value, are high in processed sugars and fats, and are quickly burned by your body, making your hunger return quickly (tempting you to overeat). Examples of bad carbohydrates to avoid are:

  • white flour breads and pastries
  • white rice
  • bleached grains
  • sports drinks
  • sodas
  • too much fruit juice (look for 100% juice only and limit your intake)

As with most things, moderation is the key to optimizing carbohydrates. Healthy carbohydrates will give you the nutrients you need for a strong body, antioxidants to fight disease, and energy for an active lifestyle that includes exercise. When incorporating good sources of carbohydrates into your body, remember to use them as a “side dish” on your plate, not the main attraction.

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