There is a lot of talk about Good Carbs and Bad Carbs. While I personally do not like to tag foods necessarily as good or bad, there are some foods that are healthier for your blood and body and some which can be toxic within your body especially when consumed more frequently than not.
Keep in mind that while I am presenting to you based on tertiary level nutrition education, I encourage you to do your own research and listen to your body.
Everybody is different and some people may digest more carbs better than others. I won’t tell you how much carbohydrate you should eat since most people are different; but I will give you an overview on which carbs you should and shouldn’t be eating on a regular basis.
The glycemic index (GI) of a food basically tells you how quickly and how high your blood sugar will rise after eating the carbohydrate contained in that food, as compared to eating pure sugar.
Fun Fact: The GI of skittles is the same as white bread and even whole wheat bread. Yes they are both sugar in different forms, except one of them may be better camouflaged.
“Bad” carbs turn to sugar in our blood quickly which stresses out our pancreas thus increasing chances of metabolic syndrome. “Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes” – Mayo Clinic.
The more sugar in blood, the more the pancreas has to work. Indulging in fast food and sugary drinks increases hunger and eating more than you should. An over-worked pancreas leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and metabolic syndrome of which sugar is a contributing factor.
High fructose corn syrup which is a highly refined form of sugar is hiding in 80 percent of food and drink items that we purchase as a collective society. Another reason why it’s so important read labels.
"Good" Carbs promote a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream at levels at which the body is not stressed in metabolising. They give our brains and bodies the energy that it needs to perform our daily tasks and keep us in a positive mood. If you would like to know more about how much carbs you should have as an individual I can help work with you to personalise your nutrition.
Here are some popular Local simple/bad carbs and my favourite complex & healthy substitutions:
Bad Carbs (very high glycemic index)
- Sugar and fructose corn syrup
- Most cereals
- Doubles barra
- Bread , bake & wheat grains
- Skittles and other candies
- Roti skin
- French fries
- Tortillas / wraps
- Mashed white potato
- Macaroni pie
- Soft drinks and sugary beverages, fruit juice drinks
- Anything processed(Donuts, Pies/ Pastry/ Pizza)
My favourite substitutions
- Sweet potato & curry Channa
- Channa from the doubles guy in a cup or with quinoa
- Bob’s Red Mill “Creamy Rice” Brown Rice Farina Hot Cereal
- Baked crispy cassava sticks
- Gluten Free whole grain pizza @zabouca breads or @Ambrosia café
- Buckwheat glutenfree toast moderation
- Bunless lamb orYouthful vega black bean burger with Cassava or sweet potato fries & veggies
- Cauliflower mash
- Vital Lentil soup
- Black beans
- Brown rice pasta
- Fruits (don’t overdo them as they contain sugar but they are clean carbs)
- Vegetables or just ‘Veggies’ as I like to call them
My challenge for you (and a great way to get ready for Carnival): Eliminate processed foods and wheat grains for a week and see how you feel.
I know what you are thinking !!!! What to eat if I cant eat those foods!!?!?!?!?
Whole foods such as those listed above. Keep this in mind as a guide – Food does not have ingredients; food is an ingredient!
If you need extra support and guidance, contact me and let’s start NOW towards getting you one step closer towards your fittest and healthiest self.
Written by Annick Lewis Nutritionist BSc of Green Balance. Greenbalancett@gmail.com