Are Carbs Healthy? Examples of Carbohydrates

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Yes, Carbs Are Healthy

First thing, healthy carbs refers to one of the three macronutrients, along with fat and protein.

With the current popularity of dozens of low-carb, healthy carbs or no-carb diets, carbohydrates have been getting some rather bad press over the last few years.

In their fervor to convince people to eschew all types of carbohydrates, diet gurus have also attempted to steer people away from consuming healthy carbs for breakfast, lunch or dinner, even though the body needs these carbohydrates for glucose, which the brain uses for fuel and many other important functions.

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Is There Really a Difference?

While some popular diets might have you believe that all carbohydrates are created equal, there really is a big difference in how the body utilizes different carbohydrate-rich foods.

Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains like barley and oatmeal, black beans, and whole wheat bread provide a consistent source of fuel for the body and help to keep it satiated and feeling full for hours.

Examples of Carbohydrates

The Top List for Complex Starchy Carbs

  • Yams (sweet potatoes)
  • Brown rice (love basmati, a long grain rice)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White potatoes with skin
  • Multi grain hot cereal (mix or barley, oats, rye, and others)
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • 100% whole wheat pasta
  • Fresh beets
  • Beans and lentils
  • Cream of rice hot cereal
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal (old fashioned or Steel Cut)
  • Couscous
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Fresh beets
  • black beans

The Top List for Vegetable Carbs

  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Salad greens
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers (green and red)
  • Onions
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas

The Top List for Fruit Carbs

  • Apples
  • Acai berries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Black berries
  • Plums
  • Strawberries

Bad Carbs! List of Bad Carbs

On the other hand, simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, corn syrup, fruit juices and fructose, provide only a brief surge of energy, after which the body once again experiences hunger and other uncomfortable feelings.

Simple carbs, or bad carbs, are commonly found in sweets, baked goods, pre-sweetened cereals, soda and other common snack foods and can be a real problem for those with health conditions, weight issues or those with type 2 diabetes.

Complex carbohydrates have an additional benefit that those who are modifying their diet to lose weight will love – they are lower in calories!

This means that dieters can often enjoy a larger portion of food and still remain within their caloric intake goals for the meal or day.

Healthy Carbs Include:

Whole grains – meaning foods that use all three parts of the wheat, rice or other grains, including the outer bran layer, the endosperm and the germ.

Whole grains that are considered healthy carbs include oats, wheat or rice prepared as whole grains, bread made from whole-wheat flour and brown rice

Legumes – beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and other varieties are especially healthy carbohydrate choices because they have a naturally low glycemic index and do not cause blood glucose and insulin levels to spike.

In addition, legumes are loaded with healthy fiber, provide protein, and are inexpensive and easy to obtain and prepare, even for busy households.

Fruits – are excellent options for providing healthy carbs. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, apples, pears and other fruits are sweet-tasting and fun to eat, while still providing a substantial amount of healthy carbs, vitamins, nutrients and fiber.

It is important to remember, however, that fruit juices are often considered to be simple carbs, which are not healthy, because the fiber has been removed, so always consume fruit in its natural state, if possible.

Vegetables – like fruits, vegetables are packed with nutrition, great taste and healthy fiber. Raw, in a salad, or prepared simply as steamed vegetables, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, peppers and others provide taste, nutrition, fiber and a satisfying crunch.

Dairy products – packed with healthy carbs and a significant source of protein, minerals and vitamins, dairy products such as low-fat yogurt, one-percent milk and low-fat cottage cheese provide energy and help satisfy hunger for hours.

The amount of healthy carbs to include in your diet depends upon a variety of factors, including your age, current physical condition and your health goals.

Consult with your doctor or nutritionist to determine what the right amount of healthy carbs is for your body and your health.

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