Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are organic compounds that can be 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 carbs, you will not feel well.

Choose Wisely

It is important for you to know that you can be healthy eating carbs. The key is to choose the so-called “good carbs,” those that in addition to energy-producing sugars and starches, also have other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs.

At the same time, try to limit what some 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

Since carbs provide energy (otherwise known as calories), even if you are only eating the good ones, you will need to be aware of portions. A little, usually a half a cup to a cup, goes a long way! Click on this link for more detailed information about Carbs.

Here is a list of some good carbs that you can include as part of your healthy diet.

Click here for a printable copy of this healthy carbs list.

Good Carbohydrates

-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

-Fruits

-Whole grain pasta

-Brown rice

-Whole grain cereals such as oatmeal.

-Pinto beans

-Cashews

-Whole grain pilaf such as bulgur or Kashi

-Popcorn (if of good quality, popped fresh, with healthy oil and served with a bit of unprocessed salt, if desired)


Which carbs to limit or avoid

While you are including the good carbs listed above, be sure to limit or avoid the less desirable ones that include, cakes, cookies, chips, candy, doughnuts, highly processed snack foods, fries, soft drinks and products made with white flour.


What is the Glycemic Index?

In simple terms, the Glycemic Index Diet, as the name suggests, is based on something called the Glycemic Index. This a way of comparing carbohydrate foods based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels. The highest glycemic foods will release glucose (sugar) almost instantly into the bloodstream while the lower glycemic choices will take much longer to digest, and the glucose will be released more gradually into the bloodstream.

How it works

The glycemic index has a range from 0 to 100, with 100 being pure glucose and 0 indicating no or negligible effect on blood sugar. In general, foods that have a glycemic index of 55 or below are considered lower glycemic foods, foods with a value between 56 and 69 are medium glycemic foods and those with a GI value of 70 or above are high glycemic.


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