Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
Don’t be misled by fad diets that make blanket pronouncements on the dangers of carbohydrates. They provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function, and they are an important part of a healthy diet. But some kinds of carbohydrates are far better than others.
The best sources of carbohydrates—whole grains (the less processed, the better), vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Easily digested refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice and other refined grains, pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.
Try these five quick tips for adding good carbs to your diet:
1. Start the day with whole grains. Try a hot cereal, like steel cut oats, or a cold cereal that lists a first on the ingredient list and is low in sugar. But finding sugar in cereals takes a bit of detective work. Learn how to be a savvy reader of breakfast cereal labels.
2. Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks. Confused about how to find a whole-grain bread? Look for bread that lists as the first ingredient whole wheat, whole rye, or some other whole grain —and even better, one that is made with only whole grains, such as 100 percent whole wheat bread. Or try this recipe for hearty whole grain bread.
3. Bag the potatoes. Instead, try brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, whole wheat pasta, or another whole grain with your dinner. Read “whole grain recipes.” for a list of whole grains and their health benefits, or check out these
4. Choose whole fruit instead of juice. An orange has two times as much fiber and half as much sugar as a 12-ounce glass of orange juice. Looking for juice alternatives? See six ideas for low-sugar drinks, a recipe for a low-sugar fruit cooler, and a recipe for sugar-free sparkling iced tea.
- the full story on carbohydrates
- , weight, and health
- understanding and the
- the glycemic index, the glycemic load, and health
- healthy recipes for whole grains
- the link between sugary drinks, weight gain, and diabetes
- why diet drinks may not be the best alternative to sugary drinks
- how much sugar is in your favorite soft drink or sports drink
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.