Avoiding carbs is akin to not putting premium fuel in your car. Sure, it’ll work, but for most of us it’ll work far from its best.
There is a lot of confusion around carbs and in most instances people avoid them for no good reason.
Carbs are not to blame for our high obesity rates.
We have been eating this macro for thousands of years and obesity rates have only started to increase significantly since the 1970s. This is about the time when fast and more highly processed foods and more ‘fast’ foods started to become readily available.
While the body can use protein and fat for energy, it takes considerably more time and effort. Carbohydrates are the easiest macro-nutrient for the body to convert into energy, it is also the preferred energy source for our brain. If you’re considering low carb diet such as keto then it is important to understand the side effects.
While we should limit ‘refined’ carbohydrates (complete avoidance is not necessary) such as sugars, more complex carbs are some of the best sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
The issue is not ‘carbs’, but the type and how much we eat can become an issue. Learn to love carbs again with the 3 P’s…Planning, Portion Control and Preparation.
- Shop for low Glycemic Index (GI), whole grain carbohydrate sources such as seedy bread, brown, basmati or doongara rice, quinoa, buckwheat, pasta, freekeh and pearl barley.
- Only buy refined carbs such as cakes, muffins, biscuits, pastries, waffles, pizza, white bread and soft drink/soda for special occasions instead of having them available in your kitchen all the time.
- Limit the amount of carbs with added sugars such as flavoured yoghurts, ketchup and pasta sauces.
- Be fussy with prepackaged cereals. Ideally choose a cereal with <15g sugar per 100g for varieties that do not contain dried fruit and <20g per 100g for varieties that contain dried fruit. Better yet, choose oats or a muesli for breakfast instead of processed cereals.
- How many portions you need will depend on how active you are, your age, gender and muscle mass.
- Most of us need only 4-6 serves of grains and cereals each day.
- 1 serve is:
- 1 slice of bread
- ⅔ cup flaky cereal or ⅓ cup muesli or oats
- ½ cup cooked rice or pasta
- ½ cup cooked pasta, brown or basmati rice, couscous, quinoa, buckwheat, freekeh
- 1 medium potato
- It is a good idea to use cup measures for cereal, pasta, rice and other grains to get familiar with the appropriate portion sizes as it is very common to underestimate.
- Use oil spreads sparingly on bread and toast or try using a more nutrient rich topping such as hummus, cottage cheese, ricotta or avocado.
- Use tomato based sauces on pasta and add lots of vegetables.
- Use spray oil when cooking potatoes instead of deep frying or coating them with oil spreads.
Three key things to remember:
- The 3 Ps….. Planning, portions and preparation!
- With the 3 P right approach ‘Carbs’ will NOT make you fat
- Carbs are our bodies preferred energy source
If you’re determined to try low carb then speak with a dietitian first, but I hope reading this article helps you enjoy your next bowl of pasta that little bit more.
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