Carbohydrates get a bad rap, not just because of their association with weight gain, but also chronic health problems

Despite the negativity, carbs are essential. Which carbs are best for us is something I am often asked and it’s well worth knowing.

Some foods are higher in carbs than others and the higher the carb content the more sugar. Excess sugar gets converted to fat, causes inflammation and increases blood acidity. These are major precursors to chronic disease. The worst carbs are processed or refined ‘simple carbs’.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs, particularly those in processed or refined foods, are sugars dumped into the body, which head straight for your bloodstream and spike blood sugar levels. They have virtually no nutritional value in them. In  fact, they drain the body of nutrition because they need more nutrients to digest them than they contain. Examples are refined sugar, biscuits, cakes, soft drinks, doughnuts, common breads, pasta and pastries, and the list goes on.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs take the body longer to digest, so sugars will not spike blood sugar levels in the way simple carbs do. They have much higher levels of important nutrition, such as vitamins and minerals, as well as more fibre.

Examples of healthy, complex carbs are following. Let me know if you have any questions and I can help you as each of us have different demands, such as work, age and health.

  • Sweet potato
  • Potato
  • Turnips
  • Swede
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots

These can be prepared in many interesting and different ways, such as cauliflower prepared to be like rice, carrot noodles, zucchini spaghetti and broccoli ‘rice’.

To summarize, we need carbohydrates, but focus on complex carbs please.

Low Carb Diet and Weight Loss

When we hear of a ‘low carb diet’ it is the simple carbs we want to avoid. These are generally damaging, but often make up a large proportion of people’s shopping trolleys and diet.

For those wanting to lose weight, simple carbs are to be avoided generally. In addition, I often advise avoiding cereals and grains, root vegetables, and rice because of their high carb content.