Due to all the “carb jargon” it is really difficult to place a value on unhealthy versus healthy carbs in today’s food choices.
It is probably the most common question we hear in nutrition. Due to all the “carb jargon” it is really difficult to place a value on unhealthy versus healthy carbs in today’s food choices. It’s confusing because we always hear good carbs versus bad carbs - yadda yadda . . . cha, cha, cha! So let’s break it down, starting with what a Healthy Carb is:
GOOD CARB = Carb-ilicious (4 calories per gram) Carbs provide ENERGY required to build new muscle and to workout while keeping your body systems running. Carbs also assist in protein transportation to the muscles. Your body needs Healthy Carbs:
- Complex Carbs = Natural Whole Grains, Pastas, Breads, Potatoes (Limited shelf life)
- Simple Carbs = Natural Fruits (Limited Shelf Life)
- Fibrous Carbs = Natural Vegetables (Limited Shelf Life)
Simple Carbs provide healthy natural sugars which the body can regulate over time to provide a steady flow of sugar in the system versus the sugar high/slump we experience with refined, processed sugars. Carb-iliciousness has a shelf life because it is ALIVE and alive foods get processed easier in the body because the body wants to feed the ALIVE mass, not storage units.
BAD CARB = Vicious (EMPTY CALORIES) Your body can’t utilize = Fat Storage. It feels like these should be called Carb-ilicious because they taste so good, but in reality they are Vicious because they are loaded with extras/emptiness for storage!
- Complex Carbs = HIGHLY processed/refined grains, pastas, breads, potatoes, ANY manufactured, highly processed crackers, snacks, bakery goods, boxed dinners, frozen dinners, most boxed cereals (highly refined, highly manufactured and are full of saturated fats and sugar) Almost anything carb with a long shelf life = highly processed. If it can sit on the shelf for a long time – it can sit in your body for a long time too.
- Simple Carbs = Canned Fruits, Canned Jam, Jelly, Highly processed Fruit “Products”
- Fibrous Carbs = Canned Vegetables, Vegetable Sauces/Mixes/Dressings, Highly processed Vegetable “Products”
What do Unhealthy Carbs have in common? EXTRA SUGAR +/or EXTRA FAT = Empty Calories. The goal is to limit our added sugars. For women, this means no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars (6 teaspoons) and for men no more than 150 calories per day (9 teaspoons). For example, a 12-ounce can of regular soda has 8 to10 teaspoons of added sugar and a serving of a standard breakfast cereal has about 4 teaspoons. What happens when we eat unhealthy carbs? Our bodies store them as fat! Our bodies are machines and we can’t trick them! It takes a lot of energy and effort to pull those EMPTY(Vicious) calories back out of storage and burn them off.
When we don’t get enough HEALTHY(Carb-ilicious) carbs, our bodies will tire quickly and will eventually look to muscle tissue for energy. We could begin to eat our muscle mass (or eat our workouts back on). The key is to replace Vicious carbs with Carb-ilicious ones! To have live, healthy bodies we have to feed them live, healthy foods.
Power Thought: “If you’ve been addressing the problem and it’s not working, then address the solution!” ~ Sherry Derossett CNC.CPT