Carbohydrates (or 'carbs' for short) have become something of a scapegoat for Australia's rising obesity levels. Because sugar is a carb, it might seem like a good idea to eliminate all carbs from your diet. In reality, carbs contain key nutrients that the human body requires to function properly. Here are five dietitian-approved carbs that most people should definitely stick with.
A new global study of international obesity rates has painted a porky picture of Australasia, which is now the fastest growing region in the world. Since 1980, Australian and New Zealand obesity rates have leapt from 16 per cent to a whopping 29 per cent. In Australia, an estimated 11 million adults are now overweight along with nearly a quarter of our kids.
It's time to stop treating 'carb' like a dirty word. While it's true that low-carb diets such as Keto, Atkins and Whole 30 can result in rapid weight loss, it potentially comes at the expense of your inner health. Vitamins and nutrients that our brains and bodies need - including magnesium, calcium and potassium - are a lot harder to come by outside of a carb-inclusive diet.
Business Insider recently spoke to Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital about the reality of healthy carbs. Here are five carbohydrates that have been given her tick of approval.
Unlike processed grains, whole grains have outer shells of bran and germ that provide protein and fibre, which help keep you full.
Eating whole grains also lowers your chances of suffering a stroke, helps regulate blood pressure, and reduces your risk of developing diabetes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To incorporate more whole grains into your diet, look for breads and pastas that are “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain.” Remember, wheat flour is only about 25% whole wheat.
Also remember that whole grains aren’t limited to wheat, oats, and brown rice. Try some high-fibre barley, crunchy quinoa,Ethiopian teff, or wild rice.
The ketogenic diet (or 'keto' for short) involves the eradication of most carbs from your diet in favour of proteins and fats. It has exploded in popularity among women in recent years, with multiple mummy blogs singing its virtues.
However, there's a slightly icky side-effect you may wish to ponder before embarking on a high-fat, low-carb diet. In short, it can cause a marked change in vaginal odour - AKA the 'Keto Crotch'.
Pulses (peas, lentils, and beans)
Pulses are excellent sources of healthy, slow-digesting carbs packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein and phytochemicals. The phytochemicals in plants that give them colour and flavour are great cancer-fighters too, since they decrease inflammation in the body and help repair our DNA.
Green peas, for example, are filled with bone-protecting potassium and belly-satisfying protein. They are also sweet and rich in folate, which is critical for cells to grow and function properly. Aside from the green kind, there are also chickpeas, which are used to make hummus.
Sweet potato (in moderation)
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins A, B6, and C. It’s best not to overdo it on the sweet orange roots because they have a high glycemic index, which will temporarily spike blood sugar. But a bit of cooked sweet potato mixed into a salad or roasted as a side dish is a good dinner choice.
Squash, which can be added to soups, roasted, or blended into casseroles, is a rich wonder-food. Many types contain some natural sugar, but they’re also high in eye-protecting lutein. Squash also packs enough protein and fibre to keep you full for a while, while providing magnesium and potassium for bone health.
Fruits like bananas and apples are often banned on low-carb diets since they’re carb-heavy and contain natural sugars. But eating a bit of fruit isn’t bad for you, especially when you consume it whole instead of blending it into a smoothie or juice. Eating an apple with its fibrous skin on instead of peeling it will deliver about double the fibre, 25% more potassium, and 40% more vitamin A.
In conclusion, eliminating carbs from your diet entirely isn't advisable unless you have been instructed to do so by a medical professional. (To regulate blood pressure or blood sugar levels, for example.)
Otherwise, if you want to lose weight, you're better off moniterng your kilojoule intake via a balanced diet that includes healthy carbs with plenty of plant-based, whole foods.
Five people have recently told me they were going to "try keto" — the most recent after gushing about a mutual friend who has been doing keto, aka the popular ketogenic diet, and getting awesome-looking results. You've probably heard rumblings about keto, but what the heck is it? And is it too good to be true?
This story has been updated since its original publication.
[Via Business Insider]