C is for Carbohydrates

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NUTRITION TIP THURSDAY

C | Carbohydrates

By Lindsey Herr

Simple carbohydrates are quick sources of energy and are rapidly digested. Some of these foods can result in blood sugar spikes, as they typically do not have fiber, which helps to slow how quickly our body absorbs sugars from foods or beverages. Examples of processed and refined simple carbohydrates include baked goods, syrup, table sugar, processed snack foods, jam/jelly, honey, and sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juice, sweetened teas, energy drinks, and sports drinks. A lot of these foods are “empty calories" as they lack vitamins, minerals, or fiber, which can contribute to weight gain.

On the other hand, fruit is considered a simple sugar, but has fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a better choice than processed or refined simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates, also referred to as dietary starch, are often rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as they are mostly found in whole plant-based foods. These include whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes.

Recommendations:

  • Choose complex starches

  • Limit added or processed sugars

  • 45-65% of total calories

  • Limit added sugar:

    • Men 9 teaspoons per day (36 g)

    • Women 6 teaspoons per day (24 g)

Smarter Carbs:

  • Choose 100% whole wheat or sprouted bread with at least 3 g of fiber per serving
  • Add beans or lentils to your salad
  • Limit / eliminate sugary beverages -- choosing water or flavored sparkling water instead
  • Include a piece of fruit with breakfast or as a snack
     

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