Is fat bad for you? Are carbs unhealthy? Before you can get an answer, you have to provide more information. Just like not all fat is unhealthy, not all carbs are. In fact, both fat and carbs are necessary for a healthy diet, but you have to have the right type of each. Trans fat and flaxseed oil are both fat, yet trans fat is bad for you, but flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for your health and eating a lot of trans fats can lead to heart disease. Carbs include fruits and vegetables, but the group also contains processed sugar. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that negatively affects the body and fruits and vegetables are the complex form and important for good health.
Carbs can be broken down another way.
There is another way to categorize carbohydrates and that’s simple starchy carbs or sugar, complex starchy carbs and complex fibrous carbs. Even then, you can’t say that a group is good or bad. You have to break the groups down even further. Simple starchy carbs are normally vilified. But not all of them are villains and even those that aren’t healthy when eaten regularly have beneficial properties. This group contains table sugar (sucrose), fruit sugars (fructose), milk sugar (lactose) and glucose, the simplest form of them all. No one would ever say that fruit is bad for you, but high fructose corn syrup may be, particularly since it’s found in so many foods. If you want to lose weight or stabilize blood sugar levels, sucrose is the one to avoid.
Complex starchy carbs are made up of two different groups.
These types of carbs are in long chains and have vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. In their natural state, such as whole grains and beans, they’re good for you. Unfortunately, most of this group has been refined and the bran and germ has been removed from the grain. Instead of slowly breaking down, it now acts just like a simple sugar might act and quickly turn turn glucose. This processing changes healthy nutrient rich foods like whole grains or brown rice and turns it into instant energy with few nutrients, such as white rice or white refined flour.
You need complex fibrous carbs for good health.
When people go on a low carbohydrate diet, they often fail to realize that this group of foods is healthy and should be in your diet, even though they’re carbohydrates, especially when you want to lose weight. This group of food includes fresh vegetables and greens. The fiber isn’t digestible and passes through your body, cleansing the elimination system in the process. They’re packed with nutrients and extremely low in calories, making them a good addition to any weight loss effort.
- Making food choices requires that you know more than just that it’s a carb. You need to understand the type of carbohydrate it is.
- For a diet that’s healthy, you need to include complex fibrous carbohydrates, which include vegetables, starchy complex carbs, such as beans and simple carbs, like dairy products or fruit.
- The rule of thumb is that colorful carbs (vegetables and dairy) are good and white carbs (refined sugar and flour) aren’t. Of course, that doesn’t take into account M&Ms (colorful but not healthy) or cauliflower (white but healthy).
- A healthy diet has all food groups, including healthy carbs and healthy fat.