April 19, 2011

Carbohydrates for a healthy diet

Every food stuff has good and bad carbohydrates. Look out for Nutritional Facts and ingredients printed on the packets of these foodstuff to know what and how much are you consuming.

Carbohydrates are often thought of as the 'bad guys' in a healthy diet plan. But not all carbs are created equal. While some diets will see you enjoy good carbs such as non-starchy vegetables and legumes, and eliminate all starchy and sugary carbs to help balance your blood-sugar levels and control cravings, with some other diets more "good" carbs, such as whole-grains, fruits, and certain starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes and winter squash, are reintroduced. The key to choosing healthy carbs is to focus on those that are high in fiber.

Good carbohydrates include those found in nutritious, high-fibre fruits and vegetables, legumes, unrefined whole grains, and certain types of rice, such as brown and wild. Unfortunately, fibre is often removed from grains during processing to produce a smoother texture and to extend the shelf life of breads and other baked goods. Without fibre, processed grains become essentially chains of glucose (sugar) molecules known as starches, which are devoid of nutrients. These bad carbs must be avoided on a healthy diet.

Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, good carbs contain plenty of fibre, which takes longer to digest, thus keeping blood-sugar levels steady - and cravings at bay.

When you pick up a product, be sure to first check out the Nutrition Facts panel. This will show you the total amount of carbohydrates and how much of that total comes from fibre and sugar. The higher the fibre in a product the better it is refined flour products often have very little.

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