You may know that carbohydrates are organic compounds that can be sub-divided into three groups—starches, sugars, and fiber. Unfortunately, carbs have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, but, without them in your diet--at least the good kind, you will not have the energy to do the things you want to do.
It is important for you to know that you can be healthy eating carbs. The key is to choose the so-called “good carbohydrates.” These are the carbs that, in addition to providing energy-producing sugars and starches, also have other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber that you need.
At the same time, try to limit what you might call the “bad carbs,” which contain more calories and fat than your body needs, without the benefit of the other nutrients that are so important to good health.
Not too much even of good carbs
Since carbs provide energy (otherwise known as calories), even if you are only eating the good kind, you will need to be aware of portions. A little, usually a half a cup to a cup, goes a long way!
Here is a list of some good carbs that you can include as part of your healthy lifestyle.
-Whole grain bread and rolls
-Starchy Vegetables, such as peas, winter squash, corn, carrots, and potatoes
-Non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, green beans and zucchini
-Whole grain pasta
-Whole grain cereals such as oatmeal
-Whole grain pilaf such as bulgar or Kashi
-Popcorn (if of good quality, popped fresh, with healthy oil and served with a bit of unprocessed salt, if desired)
How many Good Carbohydrates do I need?
There is a great deal of controversy about how much carbohydrate is needed in the diet. Since carbohydrates encompass the Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Group, as well as the Fruit and Vegetable Group, and even shares some foods with the Protein group, it is difficult to make an across-the-board recommendation for carbohydrates. Most health experts agree that you should be eating more of your calories (some say as much as 55-60%) from carbohydrates than from the Protein and Fats groups.
This would mean that if you eat 2500 calories a day, 1375-1500 of them should come from carbohydrates.
2500 calories x 55-60% = 1375-1500 calories.
Another way that some health experts look at carbohydrate consumption is the 40%-30%-30% rule. This says that you should get 40% of your calories from Carbohydrates, 30% from Protein and 30% from Fats. These percentages vary somewhat, depending on the source, but the idea generally is to eat a balance of the three with a slightly higher percentage from the Carbohydrates category.
This would mean that if you eat 2500 calories a day, about 1,000 of them should come from carbohydrates.
2500 calories x 40% = 1,000 calories
The problem with these approaches is that they do not take into account the type of carbs you are eating. If you are eating 1,000 or 1500 calories of bread each day, you are meeting the requirement, but missing out on the benefits of the other types of healthy carbohydrates.