How to include Carbs in your healthy diet

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How to include carbs in your healthy diet. If the word “carbs” puts you on edge it’s not your fault, they get a bad rap. We’ve been led to believe that all carbs or carbohydrates are bad for us but that’s not the case.

We say reduce the refined and processed carbohydrates and increase the whole and natural foods in your diet. Here is why.

Carbohydrates (carbs) the Facts

1.Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient for the healthy functioning of our body. They also provide us with our primary source of fuel to get through the day. Most carbohydrates get broken down into glucose in the gut. This is then absorbed into the bloodstream and used by the body’s cells for energy. Glucose is then used for the proper functioning of the brain, nervous system, muscles, and various tissues and organs.

2.We are often told that carbs will spike your blood sugar, increase food cravings, and cause weight gain. True? Sometimes. Refined or processed carbs will have a big negative impact on blood sugar levels. Processing removes the fibre, vitamin & mineral content.

3. Whole food carbs are rich in fibre helping to balance blood sugar, prevent constipation and maintain healthy weight. They also trigger satiety hormones to let us know when we’ve had enough. You will find these naturally in a variety of foods, including grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. They have the added benefit of being full of vitamins, minerals, quality protein and healthy fats.

The three categories of carbohydrates

How they work, what to look for in your foods.

  1. Simple carbs (or simple sugars)

Easily utilised for energy, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin secretion.

  • Natural Examples: fruit, milk products, vegetables and honey
  • Processed Examples: Table sugar, brown sugar, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, barley malt, malt syrup, etc

Added to foods such as soft drinks, lollies, ice cream, low fat yogurt, tomato & bbq sauce, sports drinks, the list goes on.

TIP: Watch out for the word sucrose and words ending in ‘ose’ such as glucose, maltose, dextrose on food labels.

          Try smoothies instead of juices. A smoothie blends the whole plant, use mainly veg and add minimal fruit for a touch of sweetness. When we juice, we are removing the fibre and keeping the sugar.

  1. Starch (a complex carbohydrate)

Take longer to digest and so have a more gradual effect on blood sugar.

Natural Examples: potatoes, legumes, rice, oats, breads, pasta, and grains. Note though that unprocessed wholefoods are the best source.

Processed Examples: white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary cereals.

Fact: Heavy consumption is associated with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, and weight gain.

        3. Fibre (a complex carbohydrate) – Found in plants, there are two types

a. Soluble fibre – Non-digestible carbs which encourage healthy bacterial growth in the colon – food for our gut microbiome.

Examples: oats, beans, chia seeds, flaxseed, barley, apples, legumes

b. Insoluble fibre act as a bulking agent also known as ‘roughage’ untouched by our digestion or microbes for softening & bulking stools.

Examples: nuts, legumes, brown rice, vegetables, wholegrains.

TIP: Reheating previously boiled or steamed and then cooled potatoes, is a great way of increasing resistant starch content which means more soluble fibre and reducing blood glucose spikes

Carbs in your healthy diet

Reducing the processed foods and increasing the quantity of Wholefood in your diet will have many health benefits. Fibre-rich carbs help prevent lifestyle diseases. These include chronic constipation, IBS, haemorrhoids, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers (bowel), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and mood imbalances.

A fear of carbs means most Australian’s don’t get enough fibre in their diet. A misplaced fear when it comes to fibre-rich, unrefined carbs found in whole plant foods. We shouldn’t cut carbs, we should choose the right carbohydrate for our wellbeing. Have a look at the table included for some alternative options, trying to make some changes is better than make no change at all.

CHALLENGE… Dump all refined & processed simple and starchy carbohydrates! For one week eat only unrefined, complex carbohydrates that are fibre-rich.

A nutritional Focus is one of the habits we focus on in the reset stage of the MyMethod approach to resetting your health. Find out more about the My Method approach at a venue near you now!

Written for refresh YOU by

Joanne Moore, Clinical Nutritionist

Food with Intention