One day carbs are bad, the next they are good then bad again. What is it about carbs and what exactly is a “carb”? Carb is short for carbohydrate which is just a smarty-pants way for saying sugar or energy. Where do carbs come from? You can find carbs in almost everything. Unless you are eating pure fat and protein i.e. corn oil and steak, your food contains carbs. Fruits, vegetables, dairy and most sources of protein other than meat have carbs. The foods with the richest amount or carbs are the grains food group.

Are carbs bad? Should you avoid them? No. But why do they have such a bad wrap? Because some carbs are bad for you but the carbs are not to blame the method in which the food was made or other ingredients make it unhealthy. What do twinkies, white bread, and white flour have in common? You guessed it, refined grains. When wheat undergoes a long process of beginning peeled, polished, bleached, and ground white flour or refined grains are produced. This flour becomes so lacking in nutrients due to rigorous production methods manufacturers must add nutrients back. Then they call the product enriched making it sound like they are doing the consumer a favor. These refined grains have negative impacts on your health. People who eat products rich in refines grains are more likely to gain weight, be diagnosed with diabetes and suffer from high triglycerides and elevated cholesterol.

On the other hand, whole grains provide numerous nutritional benefits. Particularly whole grains not ground into whole grain flour for example quinoa, bulgur, freekeh, wild rice and many others. These grains provide fiber, and B complex vitamins, while some supply iron and even calcium. New research shows whole grains are also rich in antioxidants. Due to the high fiber content whole grains result in a more controlled blood sugar compared to refined grains, in others words whole grains generally fall lower on the glycemic index. The fiber content also promotes satiety so you will feel full longer which aids weight loss and weight control.

Want to add more whole grains to your diet? Have oatmeal or granola for breakfast, throw a handful of barley, oatmeal or buckwheat into a soup. Make wild rice, bulgur or quinoa instead of white rice or pasta. Experiment with freekeh as a side dish, soup or stuffing for your chicken. Remember Nation Nutrition Month is about ‘Eating Healthy, Your Way, Ever Day,’ find out how you like your whole grains, exploring new dishes can be quite fun.

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