February 15, 2017

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs (Are There Really “Bad” Carbs?)

A recent Splenda Living blog looks at the terms “good carbs” and “bad carbs.” You get plenty of advice, solicited or unsolicited, about what you, as a person with prediabetes or diabetes, should include or exclude from your “diabetic diet plan.” But, if you’re thoroughly confused, I’m not surprised. It’s confusing!

Let’s flesh out the facts and set you on a path to healthier eating that best guides you to manage your prediabetes or diabetes.

Are Foods Really “Good Carbs” “Healthy Carbs” or “Bad Carbs”?

No, not really!

What are carbs? Carbohydrate is actually a nutrient. Specifically it’s one of the three major calorie-containing nutrients in foods. Protein and fat are the others. It’s best to think of foods as packages of nutrients that contain varying amounts of carbohydrate, protein and fat. A couple of examples will help. Fruits and vegetables contain mainly carbohydrate with a bit of protein and nearly no fat (unless it’s added during manufacturing or by you in preparation.) Grains, whether healthier whole grains or refined grains, contain mainly carbohydrate and a small amount of protein. Fish or skinless chicken breast contains mainly protein and a very small amount of fat.

Foods that contain carbohydrate fall into two groups. You can call the healthier sources of carbohydrate “good carbs” or healthy carbs. These are: Fruits, vegetables (non-starchy and starchy), whole grains, legumes (beans and peas) and low or fat-free dairy foods.

The other category, which some people refer to as “bad carbs,” are more accurately referred to as “less healthy sources of carbohydrate.” These are: Refined grains (examples: most pizza crust; most bagels, muffins and pastries), sugary foods (examples: sugar-sweetened beverages, jelly beans) and sweets (examples: cookies, chocolates, cakes, ice creams which typically contain fat, too).

But Don’t Foods with Carbohydrate (Healthy or Less Healthy) Raise Glucose Levels?

Yes, but you need to click here to get the whole story!