Choosing Healthy Carbs

4-cycle-fat-lossCarbs are not evil. While there are “good” and “bad” carbs, Choosing healthy carbs are necessary for optimal health. They provide energy that fuels all of the body’s functions and should be included as part of every balanced and healthy meal. But which carbs should you include? Some are healthy carbs and some are not.

Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates

Complex Carbohydrates – Complex or “slow” carbohydrates contain chains of sugars, starches and fibers. Because they are more complex than simple sugars (carbs) they are slower to digest and less likely to cause rapid swings in blood sugar and insulin levels. Complex carbs will promote a feeling of fullness and reduce the cravings associated with simple carbs. Choose complex carbs as they are considered to be the healthy carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates – Simple carbs contain single sugar molecules and are digested and absorbed rapidly. Table sugar is a simple, “fast” carbohydrate and is absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream causing an immediate release of insulin. Simple carbs will provide that quick energy fix but it will soon be followed by a crash as your body releases additional insulin to counteract the rise in blood sugar. Simple carbs are very high in calories and very low in nutritional value, avoid them when possible as they are not healthy carbs. 

Simple carb foods contain high amounts of refined sugars and corn syrup. Examples include soda and soft drinks, cookies, pies, cakes, bottled juices and most commercially packaged breakfast cereals. Add white bread, pasta and frappucinos to the list of sugary carbs to avoid. Be wary of “healthy” foods that are “gluten-free” or reduced fat as they often contain additional sugar to offset the reduction of fat and flour. Healthy does not always mean low-calorie or natural.

Add More Healthy Carbs:

Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest, and rarely affects your blood sugar levels. Fiber is literally a non-digestible carb and helps your body feel full sooner and longer and helps promote proper elimination of wastes from your digestive tract. If you ever see or hear the term net carbs, it refers to the total grams of carbohydrates minus the total grams of fiber. The best sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, brown rice and beans.

Choose Complex Carbs – When planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals, choose complex carbohydrates. Your best choices are fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, and peas, whole grains and foods containing whole grains like oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads.

Need help planning healthy carb meals? Would you like to learn more about carbs, carb cycling and how a HIGH carbohydrate diet may help you burn more fat than a low carb diet? Visit The 4 Cycle Solution. 

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