Sunday, May 26, 2019

Carb Myths

So much bad information about carbs.  People are always “cutting their carbs”.  There are some carbs you should cut, but other carbs are quite healthy and ones you need in your diet.  Environmental Nutrition has a great article on “Are Carbs the Enemy?  Six Myths about Carbs”.  Ever go out to eat with someone and they take off the bun from the hamburger because they think “bread is fattening” but then they go on to eat the French fries and a large dessert?  My daughter observed some women going past the bread aisle because “bread is fattening” but then loaded their shopping cart with pastries.  One has to wonder why bread is fattening but somehow pastries aren’t?

Myth #1:  Grains are bad for you

Actually, you want grains and carbs in your diet.  About half the calories you take in each day, should be carb calories.  Grains are a great way to get carbs, especially whole grains as whole grains add so many important nutrients to your day and add fiber to your diet.  When manufacturers make white bread, they strip the bread of almost all vitamins and minerals, and they take out the fiber and then only add back a few vitamins, one mineral (iron) and no fiber.  Cutting back on white bread would be a good idea.  But one should be adding whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, whole grain crackers to their day.  A 2018 study in the Journal of Nutrition found those who had higher intakes of whole grains had a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.  The study looked at intake of whole grain cereals, (wheat, rye and oats) and other whole grain products and found “whole-grain intake was associated with an 11%” lower risk of type 2 diabetes per whole-grain serving in men and an 7% lower risk in women.  Another study in Denmark found that eating whole grain cereals lowered one’s risk of coronary heart disease.  Oats were especially significant in lowering risk of heart diseases.   

Enjoy some heart-healthy oatmeal
What grains are whole grains?  You can choose whole wheat, whole rye, brown rice, oats, whole cornmeal, or barley.  There are many whole grain breads to choose from with Dave’s Killer Bread being one of my favorites.  Looking for whole grain cereals?  All General Mills cereals are whole grain.  Many chips are whole grain such as Sun Chips.  When choosing chips, look for “whole corn” or another whole grain like whole wheat or quinoa.  And oats like plain old oatmeal is one of the healthiest cereals you can eat. 
Dave's Killer Bread
Myth #2:  Carbs are Fattening

We want carbs in our diet.  As noted above, about half are calories each day should be carb calories.  Many studies have found that diets high in whole grain carbs are also higher in fiber and as such not only don’t promote weight gain but weight loss.  Not so true with refined grains like white bread.  White bread may fill you up, but since it is low in fiber, it is digested faster than whole grain bread.  Whole grain bread has more fiber, which slows absorption and helps you feel fuller, longer.  An interesting study in the British Journal of Nutrition followed people on the Mediterranean diet.  One group ate less whole grain bread while another group lowered their intake of white bread.  They found that the group who ate less white bread, lost weight and lost belly fat.  One can enjoy some white bread but half the grains you eat each day should be whole grain.  I aim for whole grains at breakfast and lunch and often enjoy some white bread like a nice Ciabatta bread at dinner. 

What are some ways you can add whole grains to your day?  If not cereal, then try some chips that are whole grain.  At one time Doritos were even whole grain.  My daughter suggests Way Better chips, the Nacho Cheese flavor as they are “as close as healthy chips can get to Doritos”.  Not only made with Stone Ground Whole Corn but also Even the cheese they use in the Way Better chips is organic.  Don’t shun the carbs this week but choose some heart-healthy whole grain carbs.  Next week we will explore some more “carb myths”.  
Enjoy some whole grain chips

(Making some guacamole dip for those chips?  For my friends at Cook’s Cook Community Forum a Heloise tip:  have a ripe avocado that you aren’t ready to use yet?  Pop it in the fridge to keep it from browning for up to several days.)    

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