Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy to fuel the body as they break down to simple substance glucose ­ the brain’s preferred fuel source. The good carbohydrates are the ones that keep you full and satiated, throughout the day without contributing to your weight gain.

girl holding cup cake in one hand and apple in other hand

There are bad carbs too and get stored as fat. It is imperative to learn the difference between good and bad carbs and the smart ways to include it in daily diet.

People who want to lose weight always prefer to cut down on carbs but getting rid of carbs is not the answer. Choosing the right carbs, in right amounts will do the trick. 

Good Carbs

Good carbs are the healthier ones that come from whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. They are termed good carbs because of their high fibre content and packed with essential nutrients, which include proteins, essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They provide the body with a wide spectrum of health benefits.

Good carbs are complex carbohydrates, meaning they are made of long chains of carbohydrate molecules. It delays the gastric emptying time and takes a longer time to digest and convert to sugar.

Examples of these good carbs include Quinoa, oatmeal, popcorn, black beans, chickpeas, brown rice, apples, bananas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Bad carbs

Simple processed carbohydrates that contain added sugars and refined grains are bad carbs. They include white bread, pastries, soda, energy drinks, and white pasta.

Bad carbs essentially do nothing great for your body. Too many refined grains and added sugars mean you are getting calories that are depleted of a lot of their nutrition. You’re not getting the nutrient per calorie you should be getting.

Eating lots of low fibre and low nutrient carbs like processed grains and added sugars will lead to surplus calories, increased hunger levels, loss of energy and all these ultimately result in weight gain.

How many carbs should you eat?

Carbohydrates mainly the good carbs should comprise about 45-65 % of your daily calorie. If you find it difficult to count calories a simpler way is to make it all balance by eating healthy snacks and meals that are about half good carbs, some protein, and few healthy fats.

How to read the label?

You can get your good carbs from whole foods and grains. But there are bad carbs that are hidden into some surprising elements of your food. When reading your nutrition label, first lookout for total carbohydrates, see how much comes from added sugars. The rule of thumb is to try to keep added sugars below 10 grams per serving. And check if it provides at least 3 grams per serving fibre to make it a wholesome food.

Don’t overdo with this, as long as you are including good carbs and minimizing bad carbs as part of a balanced diet you are on the right track to health.