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Carb Confusion

Posted by Tracii H.

Ever since the advent of the Atkins diet, there’s been a mind-blowing amount of misinformation, confusion, and over-reaction about carbohydrates in the diet. Can avoiding carbs help you lose weight? Are carbs bad for you? WHAT IS A ‘CARB’, ANYWAY?!Carbohydrates are needed by every cell in the body for energy production, clear thinking, and proper functioning of the body and mind. Many foods contain carbohydrates, including potatoes, bread, pasta, sweets, and other “starchy” foods. There are two kinds of carbs—good and bad. It’s that simple. While foods containing refined flours and sugar, like white bread, white rice, white sugar, and other “white” products are abundant in our western diets, they are quite unhealthy and can lead to diabetes, obesity, and blood sugar problems if eaten in excess. Good carbs, on the other hand, include whole grain products cereals, bread, quinoa pasta, and other “whole” products. To simplify, “white”=bad, “whole”=good. Good carbs are not only necessary for good health, they can actually help you LOSE weight! They keep you feeling full longer, help you eat less at meals, and lose more weight than a carb-free diet. Experts say you should never cut any food group out of your diet -- especially carbohydrates, which make up a majority of the diet. Until recently, the Food Guide Pyramid made no distinction between good and bad carbs, while recommending that we eat from 6-11 servings per day! Although it’s recently been amended, the damage done is undoubtedly great. We all remember learning about the food groups in school and seeing the food pyramid, the supposed Bible of nutrition, and its base containing bread, pasta, and cereal, don’t we? Many generations grew up with this model for nutrition, flawed as it may have been, and are now paying the price in the form of record numbers of obesity, cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, and other hideous disorders.And lets not forget about fruits and vegetables, which are also “good” carbs. Eat up!
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