What You Should Know About Carbs

By Sara Butler

Carbohydrates aren’t the most popular food group in the world. In fact, in recent decades they have seemed to take some of the heat off saturated fat as the villain of the dietary world. Yes, over the last few years carbs have gotten a bad reputation as the cause of obesity and right arm of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes. Broad assertions such as these are ridiculous when you understand just how good for you carbs are. Here are a few carbohydrate myths you should ignore.

Myth No. 1: All Carbs are Created Equal

You simply can’t compare a serving of sugary cereal to a serving of garbanzo beans. They may have about the same amount of carbohydrates per servings, but the type of carb you’re getting is vastly different.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are high in fiber, a carbohydrate that helps to promote a balance gut microbiome and help you feel full. These types of carbohydrates actually help to protect you from disease. But other types of carbs such as the kind found in snack foods, sweetened drinks, candy, and white bread are full of carbs without real nutritional offerings. You simply can’t look at carbs as a uniform category -- the source ultimately determines the quality.

Myth No. 2: All Carbs are Bad for Blood Sugar

While it may be true that all foods that contain carbohydrates raise your blood sugar, they don’t all impact it to the same degree. Foods that are high in fiber and minimally processed such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables cause a steady, slow increase in blood sugar. Foods that are highly refined such as white bread, sugar, and chips will cause your blood sugar to raise much more rapidly.

Myth No. 3: Carbs Don’t Belong in a Healthy Diet

You should limit the number of carbs you get from sugar and white starch to be healthy; yes, that is true. But it’s wise to make whole grains a part of your diet. Remember, eating well is about balance and too much of anything isn’t good for you, even super healthy foods. Make sure you have a diet full of lean protein, vegetables, and fruits along with whole grains and you should be good to go. And believe it or not, it is OK to indulge from time to time in small portions of baked goods and sweets. But they’re definitely a once-in-a-while treat, not an everyday thing.

Carbohydrates are not your enemy -- they're just misunderstood!

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