Why carbs are not your enemy
HERE’S something for you to chew on: your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Without it – yes, meaning your rice, bread, pasta and noodles – you’re likely to go through your day feeling sluggish, crabby and unable to concentrate. Betcha didn’t know that, huh?
While it’s true that some carb-rich food leave you feeling more tired and hungry after eating them, you need to know which carbs are good and those that aren’t beneficial. Basically, refined carbs – those found in white bread, cakes, sugar, cookies – are digested quickly while providing little or no nutritional benefits. These are the carbs you need to avoid.
The ones you should be eating are complex carbohydrates. They break down in the body more slowly and don’t spike your blood sugar levels like refined carbs do. That’s why eating stuff like whole grains make you feel fuller longer. For those concerned about weight management, don’t discount carbohydrates totally from your diet. Be carb smart and follow these simple rules:
Greens have carbs, too: Carbohydrates are not exclusive to pastas, breads and rice. Vegetables, fruit and even dairy foods also contain carbs. These include mushrooms and leafy greens. Some, like potatoes, corn and peas, are also a good source of carbohydrates but if you’re looking to maintain your weight, then avoid these ‘starchy’ veggies and keep to a serving of non-starchy vegetables for your carbohydrate intake.
Brown doesn’t mean healthier: While complex carbohydrates include brown rice and whole wheat pastas, don’t be fooled into thinking that anything that is brown is a complex carbohydrate. Read the food labels. Avoid anything that uses the general term “multigrain”. Instead, look for packaging that spells out the grain, like ‘whole oats’, ‘whole wheat’, etc., as the first ingredient in the list.
Introduce whole grains gradually: If you’re not used to eating stuff like brown rice noodles and whole wheat pasta, there’s no harm in easing into them slowly. Some people need a little more time to get used to the different texture. Try mixing half of the brown rice with your usual rice. You can also do this with your cereal. The more you consume them, the easier they will be on your tastebuds. You may also find whole grains to be even tastier and flavourful and wonder why you never made the switch earlier.