Some carbohydrate sources are healthier than others, and how many carbohydrates are in the diet is less important than the type of carbohydrate.
Whole-grain products such as wholemeal bread, rye, and quinoa are better choices than highly refined white bread. Remember that eating carbohydrates from healthy foods is more important than following a strict diet that limits carbohydrates consumed.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are found in healthy and unhealthy foods – bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, biscuits, spaghetti, soda, corn, and cherry pie.
Some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:
- The healthiest sources of carbohydrates – unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans – promote good health by providing vitamins, minerals, fiber, and several essential phytonutrients.
- Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These elements contain easily digestible carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain and promote diabetes and heart disease.
Try these tips to add healthy carbs to your diet:
Start the day with whole grains
Try a hot cereal, such as steel-cut or old-fashioned oats (not instant oatmeal), or a cold cereal that shows a whole grain first on the ingredient list and has little sugar.
Eat beans rather than potatoes
Instead of filling with potatoes – which promote weight gain – choose beans as an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates. Beans and other legumes like chickpeas also provide a healthy dose of protein.