EXPERT ADVICE: What carbs are actually good for you?

Sarah Di Lorenzo shares nutritional information you can actually use.
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Despite popular belief, carbohydrates are in fact good for us!

We need them for energy production, digestive health, cardiovascular health, keeping us full, controlling our blood sugar, and mood, energy storage, building up macromolecules, sparing protein, and keeping us regular – and they taste good too! 

They’re just one of three macronutrients and we need them just as much as we need protein and fats. 

WATCH NOW: How to overcome carb concerns. Article continues after video.  

The Good and the Bad

There are different types of carbs. There are bad ones, also known as simple or refined, and the good ones, complex carbohydrates. 

Simple carbs include cakes, biscuits, white bread, white pasta, and sugar. These foods have given carbohydrates a bad wrap and are linked to type 2 diabetes, inflammation, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. These are the ones we need to avoid.

The good carbs that our body needs include brown rice, potato, sweet potato, oats, quinoa, barley, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and whole grains. Whole grains are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, folate, zinc, and fatty acids.

Berries and veg are loaded with fibre and antioxidants. Other starchy veg and fruit contain what we call flavonoids and carotenoids, which
lower the risk of disease.

Believe it or not, carbs are actually good for you! (Credit: Getty)

Learning to Love Again

Abandoning carbs long-term comes at a cost to our health. I spend a lot of time teaching the people who abandoned carbohydrates to enjoy them again.

The good news is that when people start enjoying carbs again, in many cases their cholesterol levels lower.

Reignite your love of carbohydrates with Sarah’s new book. (Credit: Instagram)

Energy Healer

Carbohydrates are our macronutrient for energy. Most adults need them for energy at breakfast and lunch. Pregnant women, athletes, teenage boys, and people with a high level of activity should be enjoying good carbs with each meal. Knowledge is key. Your age, size, and level of activity will determine the number of carbs you need.

The average person should receive one-third of their day’s food intake from carbohydrate-heavy foods. If you are consuming around 2000 calories per day, you should be having around 275 grams of carbohydrates per day.

The key to maintaining long-term wellness goals is a healthy, balanced diet, and an understanding that carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that provide us with energy.

It’s easier than you think to keep track of your carbs. (Credit: Getty)

Carbs by Numbers 

Here’s a breakdown of carbohydrates in the food we eat:

  • Apple: 14 grams
  • Banana: 7 grams
  • Slice of sourdough: 54 grams
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice: 44 grams
  • 1/2 cup of beans: 24 grams
  • 1/2 cup of wholemeal pasta: 38 grams
  • 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt: 8.62 grams
  • 1/2 a medium-sized potato: 37 grams
  • 1 carrot: 6 grams

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