Choosing Healthy Carbs

The current trend in dieting suggests low-carb or no-carb diets as a way to cut weight. Although there are some health benefits to reducing certain types of carbs, other kinds of carbs are healthy and necessary for a balanced diet. Today we’re going to look at some of these carbs and figure out which carbs are best for diabetics and healthy eating.

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient, which, simply defined, is a substance we need in relatively large amounts to survive. Proteins and fats are other macronutrients that we’ve also covered in this series. But when people think about carbohydrates, they immediately think about sugar and the negative effects of certain carbohydrates. But starches and fiber are the other types of carbohydrates that the body needs to function properly.

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates are made up of just one or two molecules, hence the title, “simple”. These are refined sugars that are the quickest source of energy for the body. That may sound like a good thing, but this speedy process means huge spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which is most definitely not good. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are comprised of a long string of molecules that requires the body to slowly break down the foods, ensuring that the body uses the energy over a longer period of time. Complex carbohydrates are what we should be looking for, and these foods have more benefits than just energy. 

Feeling good with Fiber:

Fiber is one of the most important foods in our diet, and Americans consistently don’t eat enough of it. When consuming complex carbohydrates, fiber is one of the added benefits from foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and peanuts, peas, beans, and lentils. Along with providing energy from the complex carbohydrates, the fiber from these foods helps aid in digestion and promotes bowel movement regularity and consistency in digestion, yet another gift of eating healthily.

Starving for Starches:

Starch is another added benefit of eating complex carbohydrates. Starches help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduce appetite, and various digestive benefits. Resistant starches, those that aren’t immediately digested in the stomach, are sent through to the intestines where they feed the bacteria and microorganisms there to improve digestion. Peas, beans, lentils, corn, sweet potatoes, and whole grains such as pasta and bread are all great sources of complex carbohydrates, loaded with starch.

Maintaining a balance between proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is the foundation of a healthy diet. It’s best to understand how each of these macronutrients interacts with the body. Check out some of our previous articles for lists of healthy and tasty foods for planning your next meal. 

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