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Truth about "Good Carbs" & Your diet...what you THINK you know.

Posted May 25 2009 12:00am
The Skinny on Complex Carbs


People are continuously taking an interest in leading a healthier lifestyle. Watching what they eat, incorporating physical activity, quitting smoking, going green & eating organic, ect and so on.

Most people have heard of "lean proteins", or "good carbs", and "bad fats vs. good fats", "100% natural", "Organic". But, do you REALLY know if you're making all the right choices? Since people have become more educated, or learned all the "buzz words" in a healthy diet--many advertisers, and marketers take FULL advantage of this when packaging foods.

I remember when I was much younger and I would do a Cindy Crawford or Denise Austin workout videos, and would watch tv and read magazines preaching "low-fat diets". The supermarkets were filled with those fat-free and low-fat cookies, cakes, diet sodas & people were loading up on pastas, rice cakes, dry toast...because, well it was "fat-free". Well, people just got fatter, and fatter....

Then the fad was "Low-carb" diets, bacon & eggs, hold the toast. Lunch meat for a snack, cheeseburger hold the bun. Initially, people lost weight quickly...water weight, which is released from the body when it gets little or no starches or sugars from food. Most people on this diet, that lost "100 pounds" or any large amount of weight were losing due to consuming less calories than they did before going on the diet.

Foods high in sugar are easy to "binge" on, or overeat. Where, you don't really see people "binging" on steaks. Now, these people were on a diet that restricted them certain foods, and it was a more structured way of eating. Well, turned out this bacon-rich diet was a disaster waiting to happen for the your arteries (duh!). Aside from that, after 6 months, most people gained back twice as much weight (something I called when this diet became popular, and I was only a teenager at the time--oh how great it felt to say: "I told you so!")

Hopefully now, we are a much more educated society, maybe it was the waistlines that were continuosly expanding, rise of type II diabetes, scientists, dietitians that came up with valid research and studies (hence, the new food pyramid)...but since then we realized that these products were crap...loaded with sugar, sodium, and tons of chemicals to give it taste to make up for the fat they took out of the product. And the increase in fat, chemicals, sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, artificial sugar, ect in all the "low-carb" products during the Atkins-phase.

So this day in age, its all about "Lean proteins", "Good Fats", "Good Carbs". What does that really mean?

Today we will talk about "Good Carbs"-I am sure you know the basics: whole grains, no white bread, no white sugar, raw fruit & veggies. There's no question that whole grains are better for your health in many ways. Whole foods of all kinds are richer in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber than their processed counterparts. Whole grains have been shown to provide needed dietary minerals and vitamins, and whole wheat fiber can improve heart and colon health and help alter risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.


How to know you're making the right choices:


Going back to the "marketing" of these products...just because it says "whole wheat", does it mean you should eat it?

A lot of times "whole grain" products have ingredients added to improve taste that can be worse for you than eating processed white bread! So, how do you know? Well, there is more to it than reading the nutrition label, you gotta look at the ingredient list as well.

Ingredients listed first, and early on the list meaning there is more of it in the product. Surprisingly, a lot of times breads that claim to be "100% natural whole wheat" have enriched wheat flour listed early, or first, means there is more of it than whole wheat or whole grains. Sometimes these products may not have any whole grains at all!


Enriched Wheat Flour vs. Whole Wheat

Enriched flour is not the same thing as whole wheat. Enriched flour is a heavily processed flour that has had vitamins and minerals added back into it... this was something that the (U.S.) Wheat Foods Council claims that dated back to the late 1940's, to prevent vitamin deficiencies after World War II. Problem is, the sources of these vitamins are not usually natural. They're laboratory synthesized with other chemicals and impurities that make the final product, your enriched grains, not nearly the same thing as natural whole grains.
So, look at our labels...look at the ingredient list! People have come a long way since Atkin's (hopefully), but marketing companies are going to jump on ever opportunity to make their products packaging look the most appealing to consumers. So, just because it's "whole wheat" does not mean its the best choice.
1. Read the label & ingredient list on the back

2. When looking at the ingredients: look for products that list "whole grain" as the first ingredient.
3. Check fiber content--if it has 2 or more grams of fiber per serving, there is a good chance it is a whole grain product.
4. Brown bread does not mean its whole grain! Food coloring can be added to make products have a certain color.

5. Last, you can look for foods made with less commonly known whole grains such as whole barley, bulgur, quinoa, kamut, spelt, buckwheat, wheat berries and amaranth






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