Who’s the first food casualty when we want to get fitter and healthier? Carbs. We cut bread, rice, potatoes and other starchy items. It’s true, some of the most popular diets of years past were based entirely on cutting out carbs.
But don’t cast all carbs as bad guys. Did you know that they’re great at giving our body energy? Also, keep in mind that all plant foods, more or less, contain carbohydrates. So, we can’t eliminate them from our diet.
Instead of labelling all carbs ‘bad’, let’s look at the less sinister types. Let us introduce you to the good carbs:
It's the carbohydrate family rebel. Unlike other carbs, dietary fibre isn’t absorbed or stored in the body. That means we feel fuller faster when we eat dietary fibre and don’t have to refuel for quite a while after. That’s great news if you’re trying to cut calories. It also releases energy very slowly, aids bowel movement, lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar.
You’ll find this good carb in wholegrain products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Try to stay away from processed or canned versions as refining reduces the fibre content.
We like to call them ‘repentant starch’ due to their conversion from their sinful traits! These bad carbs benefited from a bit of freezing and reheating. What this does is makes the starch resistant to digestion, becoming food for gut bacteria instead of delivering sugar all over your body.
Why not make a habit of freezing and reheating items like bread, rice, potato and pasta?
Carbs with protein
Make a bad carb good by finding it a perfect partner—protein. Beans, peas and lentils all contain slow-to-digest carbohydrates and pack a protein punch. Plus, they provide fibre, vitamins and minerals. Not a poor choice if you need something more substantial than a green leafy salad to keep you going through the day.
So, don’t be quick to dismiss carbs. You can enjoy the benefits of feeling fuller longer, a healthy gut and a better you—without cutting out the humble carbohydrate! Swap your bad carbs for good ones now.