Friday, May 1, 2009

Truths & Myths About Carbs

I think there has been a lot written lately about carbs, but I hope the meeting this week reminded you that carbs do have a place in our diet.

MYTH #1: All carbohydrates are created equal.

Simple carbohydrates or simple sugars include:
  • table sugar (sucrose), which is plentiful in soda and candy
  • fructose and lactose, which are found in healthier foods such as fruit and milk ,which supply other nutrients

Foods made from table sugar should be limited.

Complex carbohydrates, "starches":

  • are found in foods like bread, legumes, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables such as potatoes.
  • take longer to digest and can help you feel more satisfied.
  • contain more nutrients than simple carbs.

Some complex carbs are healthier than others.

  • Whole grain versions of complex carbs include oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, spelt, foods made with whole wheat. Opt for whole grains as often as possible.
  • Refined grains such as white flour and regular rice are processed, which removes the outer layer of the grain, along with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

MYTH #2 Carbohydrates are the main cause of weight gain.

Consuming too many calories-regardless of whether they come from carbs, protein, fat, or anything else- is the main cause of weight gain.

MYTH #3 Carbs are empty calories. (no and yes)

  • Complex carbs contain naturally occurring nutrients, like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and iron.
  • Simple carbs with added table sugars, such as soda, add calories and very few nutrients or physical satisfaction.

The Mometum plan recommends:

  • Choose filling foods
  • Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables and limit sugars.

MYTH #4 Carbs eaten after 7 p.m. turn to sugar.

Regardless of the time of day, all carbs turn into glucose, which is blood sugar. It is then a form of energy, which is used to perform essential functions in the body

MYTH#5 You need to eat more protein than carbs before exercising.

For regular exercise a relatively high carb, moderate protein, low-fat meal is best.

The bottom line is we need healthy carbs in our diet! Choose wisely.

You can find out more at the Weight Watcher Science Center.

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