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What You Should Know About Carbohydrates

By Sara Butler

Carbohydrates aren't the most popular nutrient around. They get blamed for being behind the obesity epidemic as well as the culprit behind chronic diseases such as diabetes. But is that really true? Are carbs to blame for all the health woes people experience? Here's what you need to know about carbs and how to incorporate them into a healthy diet.

Not All Carbs are Created Equal

If you go by nutritional information alone, a serving of chickpeas has about the same amount of carbohydrates as a bowl of frosted flakes, but they're not nutritionally equal. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and legumes all are high in fiber, but they also happen to contain carbohydrates. These carbs are processed much differently by the body than carbs you find in highly processed foods such as white bread, sodas, and snack foods. The more refined a carbohydrate, the larger the impact it has on your blood sugar. So, don't assume that a carb is a carb is a carb. The source of the carbohydrate determines its quality, so think about where it's coming from.

It's Not Just a Carb

A food may be classified as a carbohydrate, such as a potato, but the truth is that it's more than a carbohydrate. All whole foods are a mix of different nutrients. They contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat, it's simply the number of calories that come from each that works to classify the food. So, don't simply focus on the nutrients along, such as something being called a carbohydrate. Instead, focus on eating a variety of whole foods and don't make the whole thing so complicated!

Carbs Are Bad for Blood Sugar

Carbs do have an impact on blood sugar, but again it really matters what kind of carb you're talking about. Complex carbs are broken down slowly and don't cause a spike in blood sugar, especially when paired with other nutrients such as fiber and fat. Simple carbs, on the other hand, do have a big impact on your blood sugar since they're metabolized and broken down very fast. Not all carbs will have a negative impact on your blood sugar. Think about the type of carb you're eating and remember that your body needs carbs to survive.

Don't believe everything you think you know about carbohydrates. Instead, seek out the most current information and use it to inform your food choices.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Snellville, Ga.

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