Which carbs are healthy?
I was recently asked, “Which carbs are healthy?”
Unfortunately, these days all carbs have a bad rap, even the healthy ones.
In my opinion, I don’t see anything wrong with any whole foods that contains carbohydrates, especially for people who are healthy, who have no health conditions, and no weight issues.
Whole, real foods that contain carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
Even foods like bananas, corn, potatoes, and rice which are known to be high glycemic or contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, I don’t see a problem consuming these foods. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. High glycemic processed foods like candy bars, chips or crisps, and donuts, on the other hand have absolutely no nutrition.
There’s a big difference between a candy bar and a banana. And if you are concerned about the carbs in your food, I would focus on eliminating and cutting out the junk food and refined food, rather than worrying about the health foods.
If you have a sugar-related health condition:
If you do have a health condition that is sugar-related, like Diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Syndrome X, insulin resistance, acne, or you are over weight, then yes, you do need to be mindful of the carbohydrates you are eating.
Do this first:
In this situation, I recommend first focusing on eliminating all processed and refined foods (cookies, cakes, candy bars, chips or crisps, fast food, pre-made sauces and dressings, microwave meals, instant soups, pastas and noodles, white bread, sugar, etc.). Eliminate these foods for a while – not just a few days or a few weeks, but for at least a few months!
If that doesn’t work, try this:
If after a few months of completely eliminating all processed and refined foods, you see no difference in your pre-existing health condition or weight, then start cutting down on the portions of the carbohydrates you are consuming from whole foods.
I never recommend cutting out carbohydrates completely, or cutting out whole food groups containing carbohydrates (like cutting out all fruit, or all whole grains). Instead, focus on cutting down the portions. Either cut the portions in half, or instead of having carbohydrates with all you meals, just have a small portion with one or two meals a day instead.
A word of caution
I find when people cut out food groups, or cut out large amounts of macronutrients like carbohydrates or fats from their diet, strong cravings and even binge eating sets in. I can’t tell you how many people who previously never over-ate, or binged, suddenly found themselves in a terrible cycle of bingeing once they went on a super restrictive diet. And this is completely avoidable, as long as you don’t cut foods or food groups out, but instead decrease the portions.