In this article you will learn:
How to make healthy choices for carb sources
What various options are and what to look for
The top things to avoid when it comes to carbohydrate decisions
Lazy Author Alert:
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This is going to be Part 3 of a 4 Part series. I will link the next article at the end. If you need help implementing these principles, don't be afraid to reach out. Below are my guiding rules for making healthy, lifelong choices with carbohydrates:
Minimize simple carbohydrates from processed sources like candy, junk food, ice cream, pastries and soda. Always read the nutrition label and understand how much added sugar something has. Regardless if it’s brown sugar or white sugar, it will still make an impact on your body. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. Personally, I avoid anything that’s “fun” food unless I’m at someone’s special occasion and then I’ll have a taste. What’s also true is that your general nutrition status (your gut microbiome, deficiencies, stress level etc.) will determine if you crave sweets in the first place. Do a good job there and you’ll never crave the bad stuff anyway.
Be careful with juices. Even if the label reads “100% Juice” it might as well say “100% sugar” for our intents here. Juice is right up there with soda unless its something like celery or kale juice. These are extra sugar bombs that can easily add to the burden for your poor blood when you’ve already bombed it with your meal. Unless it has pulp which carries most of the nutrition and fiber, juice by itself is not something to consume on a regular basis.
Stick to a majority of complex carbohydrates from vegetables with some starches like rice, potato varieties and so on. If you are trying to minimize glycemic impact, consider getting a blood glucose monitor and testing various foods to see what you are OK with. Sweet potatoes, for example, are generally much higher in glycemic impact than brown rice even though they both can be a source of resistant starch. In general though, avoid refined foods like white flour, white pasta and white bread as these have been totally stripped of nutrition and are basically just sugar. Opt instead for the whole grain version with lots of fiber like sprouted grain bread and always make sure that your vegetables and rice are organic whenever possible.
Try also not to rely on wheat as your main source of carbohydrate because of the zonulin and pesticide issues discussed previously, as well as it will distract you from eating a varied diet rich in vegetables. There are other gluten free options like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and teff. Oats are marketed as gluten free, but their version of the gluten protein, avenin, can cause intestinal inflammation in some Celiac’s patients so I wouldn’t overdo it on these either. Again, stick to a majority of vegetables with a little grain and starch and you’ll be good.