Good Carbs VS Bad Carbs – How to Make the Healthier Food Choice

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So recently I’ve stopped buying chips because I felt like I was eating nothing but chips instead of reaching for real food when I got hungry and wanted a snack.

I didn’t realize how much I was eating out of the pantry until the pantry was empty because I ate all the food in it. Great, now what do I eat? This may sound funny to some of you. Hopefully some of you can relate to my situation. What I’m looking for is something crunchy and salty that will be satisfying.

I’ve tried those salty seaweed papers, bean crisps and roasted edamame. They just made me want to buy chips and get it over with. How did I become addicted to carbs? I am highly educated and know better than to reach for a soda, processed food, fatty meats, and too much alcohol. How did this happen? Here’s what I learned.

It’s Not What You Eat, it’s WHAT You Eat

Did that make sense? You can have carbohydrates. We need them to live, but we can choose to have carbs that work with our bodies instead of working against them.

Most people eat chips, cookies, bread, popcorn, crackers, cereal, and croutons on their salads. Many of these same people will complain of weight gain, fullness and bloating, constipation, feeling tired or sluggish, and all sorts of other symptoms.

Sometimes the reason is because of the food we’re eating. The carbohydrates contained in those foods are not doing anything for us except making us gain weight, causing inflammation and sodium retention, which will lead to health problems later.

Eating the right carbs will give us more energy, reduce cravings, and be much more satisfying than anything we can find in a vending machine. Here’s how they work.

How Carbs Break Down in the Body

Starches are the most abundant source of carbohydrates and they break down to usable glucose units in the body.

We need glucose for our body functions, including brain activity. Starch is found in cereal grains like corn, wheat and rice. The breakdown of starch into glucose nourish our bodies, providing we are eating the right carbs.

Processed foods like cookies contain commercial white powdery starch that does not break down into sugar the same way as it does in plants and natural products.

The result is a sticky form of sugar, like the stuff on the back of a stamp that makes it stick to the envelope. Also, we can’t process a lot of the bi-product artificial starches create and thus we gain weight, have inflammation and stomach and intestinal problems.

So, what natural carbs are going to be delicious?

Natural Carbs to the Rescue

Most vegetables and fruit contain carbohydrates. A shorter list would be to find foods that don’t have any carbs. You should experiment.

You can research carbs that are suggested for a condition such as pregnancy, illness like diabetes, or just a general list. Nuts, yogurt, avocado, chia seeds, salmon, eggs, dark chocolate, and cheese will not only give you some healthy carbs but curb your cravings for carbs.

So now you know my secret. Cashews, cheese with crackers. I know, but no one is perfect. Get some good crackers with whole, natural ingredients. Air popped popcorn is fine. You can bag it the night before and take it to work the next day with seasoning.

Whole wheat pasta. I’ve had quinoa pasta, but really didn’t care for it. Quinoa, couscous, barley. Beef and barley soup, yum. There are so many alternatives out there to chips and cookies that are delicious, nutritious, and will keep you healthy.

Don’t fall for the sale on chips and soda anymore. Laugh at them and buy some real food.  You can go to https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index to search carbohydrate content of your favorite foods. Manga!

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Megan is an experienced Nutritional Therapist in women’s nutrition, children's nutrition, pregnancy and fertility. She is a health/nutrition content writer and a published author.

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