How To Choose the Best Carbs
The thought of giving up pasta and bread in order to shed a few pounds might seem like punishment if you love your carbs, but all carbohydrates are not created equally. While they may have bad rap, carbohydrates are an important part of our diet. They provide us with energy, regulate blood sugar and are the primary fuel source for our brain. Fiber is a special type of carb that helps promote good digestive health and may lower our risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Without carbs, our bodies would rely on protein, breaking it down for energy instead of using it in its role of growing and maintaining tissues. Eating the right kind of carbs can help to keep us healthier. We’ve got your guide to choosing the best carbs, which will help keep your blood sugar more stable and reduce cravings for the worst carbs (can you say candy bar?).
Highly processed carbs such as white bread, sugary cereal, white rice, regular pasta, and bagels produce rapid rises and drops in blood sugar, which can lead to weight gain.
By cutting starchy carbs and replacing them with foods that have a more modest impact on blood sugar, you can achieve more steady blood sugar control and better manage your cravings.
Many high-fat foods do not cause an insulin release so they keep your blood sugar much more stable. Foods in this category include nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive oil, dark chocolate, and full-fat dairy
We have all heard "an apple a day keeps the doctor away.". There is some truth to that. In addition to providing nutrients and fiber, apples and some other fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) is a way to classify foods and drinks according to how quickly they raise the glucose level of the blood. It has replaced classifying carbohydrates as either ‘simple’ or ‘complex’.
Here are examples of Low GI foods (5% GI or less), but you can find plenty more just by doing an online search:
- 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread.
- Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli.
- Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar.
- Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes, and lentils.
- Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots.