& Diet Information
Information About Diet and Carbs
Q. Does Eating Carbs Cause Weight Gain?
The answer is: No. Carbs do NOT make us overweight.
Carbohydrates are an important part of any healthy diet. Eaten regularly, carbs do NOT lead to weight gain, unless (like any food group) they are eaten to excess. After all, eating too much of anything and not burning it off through physical activity will lead to weight gain. That said, weight for weight, carbs provide fewer calories than fat or alcohol. It's also what you add to the carbohydrates that bump up the calories. For example, the margarine or butter we put on the bread and the cream or cheese sauces we add to pasta. So if you need to lose weight, cut down on these added fats, NOT the carbs.
Why Have Carbohydrates Become Such A Controversial Food?
To understand why carbs have attracted so much dietary criticism - much of it inaccurate and misleading - you need to understand a bit about the diet and food industry. The following explanation is a simplified account of the carb controversy.
Heart Disease And Low Fat Diets
The Obesity Epidemic
The GI Diet - How To Eat Good Carbs
Nowadays, most dietitians, nutritionists and obesity experts agree that good carbohydrate (eg. generally those types with a moderate or low GI value on the glycemic index) is essential for long term weight control and healthy nutrition. But it is still true that over-consumption of refined carbs (eg. generally white flour carbs with a high GI value) poses a serious risk of metabolic disorders including insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes as well as metabolic syndrome - all of which are closely associated with obesity.
The point to remember is that NOT ALL CARBOHYDRATE IS BAD - only those foods which contain heavily refined/processed carbs. The GI diet does not discriminate on the basis of carb quantity. Instead it recommends we focus on carb-quality and eat lower-GI carbs.
Official Dietary Guidelines for Carbs
According to US Government Diet Guidelines, the World Health Organization and the World Cancer Research Fund, we should consume about 50-55 percent of our calories from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are essential to give us energy. They come in two forms:
Sources of Good Dietary Carbohydrates
The following foods are all good sources of starches, but choose wholegrain, whole wheat, wholemeal, brown or high fiber varieties whenever possible.These 'whole' type of carbs still contain the whole grain, including the bran and the germ, so they're higher in fiber and will keep you feeling fuller for longer - great if you're trying to lose weight and hate feeling hungry. Examples include wholegrain rice, wholemeal bread, porridge oats, and wholewheat pasta. See also How We Digest Food.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Carbohydrate-rich foods like whole wheat
bread, pasta and rice, pulses and some fruits are particularly rich in
fiber, which helps to prevent constipation. The fiber in fruit, vegetables
and pulses, can also help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Carbohydrates in Fruit and Vegetables
Many (not all) carbs in fruit and vegetables are classed as sugars, but these are unrefined sugars and are quite different from the non-nutritious carb sugars found in manufactured, processed food. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain vital phyto-chemicals and other micro-nutrients that help protect us against serious diseases like heart disease and cancer. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Carbohydrates to Avoid in Your Diet - The Bad Guys!
Unhealthy carbohydrates are the refined sugar carbs, found in foods like: cookies, sweets, cakes, carbonated soft drinks, ice-cream and syrups. The most refined of all sugars is table or icing sugar. Healthwise, we don't need to eat any of these refined carbohydrate foods.
How to Choose Better Carbohydrates in Your Diet
To beat hunger pangs, lose weight and stay healthy, try these healthy carb tips:
Carbohydrates and Glycemic Index (GI)
Everything you need to know about healthy carbohydrate, how much to eat and how the Glycemic Index helps to maintain good health and weight.
the Body Uses Its Energy Sources
For other useful
articles, see also:
Click below to see how many carbs are in popular foods and drinks.
in Alcohol - Beans
1 - Beans 2 - Bread
- Breads - Cakes
- Cereal - Cheese
Program | GI Diet | Weight
Loss Support | Diet Forum