Good carbs: One Myth about Potatoes, Bread, Pasta and Rice
Potatoes, bread, pasta and rice… They are all carbohydrates and they all were blamed for causing weight gain, especially when the low carbs diets became very popular.
Contrary to the general opinion, like any other nutrient eaten in excess, carbohydrates can cause extra pounds, but no more than any other food. And they do not cause extra pounds by themselves, but usually in association with other foods high in calories, such as butter for the bread, creamy sauces for pastas and oil for fried potatoes.
The human body stores as body fat any nutrient in excess, whether they are proteins, fats or carbs. Instead of blaming carbohydrates for the extra pounds, extra attention should be paid to the amount of calories eaten every day.
At the same time, carbohydrates have to be chosen wisely: brown rice instead of white rice, whole bread as a substitute for the white bread, jacket potatoes instead of French fries and wholewheat pasta. They contain more fibre than the ‘white’ varieties and so will help to fill you up.
It is not wise to completely eliminate carbs from your diet.
People who follow diets strictly focused on eliminating all the carbs from their daily menu may experience weakness, fainting spells, hair falling out, bad breath, constipation, dizziness, headaches, muscle aches etc. It is also possible to develop diabetes, kidney stones and heart diseases.
Before trying extreme diets, you should know that good carbohydrates:
- are high in fiber which lowers your cholesterol.
- have a low glycemic index rating.
- provides a stable energy level without spiking your glucose levels.
Most professionals consider the following carbs healthy: beans, broccoli, collard greens, legumes, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas. The carbs that should be avoided or used in limited quantities are those which can cause extreme spikes in blood sugar, providing almost no nutritional value. Some of them are: candies, baked goods, non-diet soft drinks, snack foods, white breads and pastas.
Limiting highly processed carbohydrates is a wise idea, but is not wise to cut out completely good carbohydrates because you may gain weight instead of lose it. Health professionals recommend not to cut down on good carbohydrates too much, because they are not those to blame for weight gaining. If you add to your figure extra pounds while eating carbs, you are in one (or more) of the following situations:
- you have eaten important quantities of carbs;
- you have eaten the wrong category of carbs;
- you have combined healthy carbs with unhealthy, high calorie stuffs (oil, sour cream, creamy sauces, butter etc)
Remember that a healthy eating plan contains carbohydrates, including potatoes, bread or rice.