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Dietetic Registration #961227

Tel: 424.570.1306

Carbohydrates

February 1, 2016

 

 

 

Carbs! Why are they so beaten up and misunderstood? Is it because mainstream fad diet media bashes them and makes them seem like the evil nutrient that is sabatoging your weight loss efforts? I'd like to come to the defense of this macronutrient; Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet because they provide fuel to our brain and muscles. Carbohydrates are found in grain products, fruits, dairy, nuts, juices, desserts, beans, some alcohol, and even certain vegetables. Most people who claim to have lost weight by "giving up carbs" most likely mean that they've eliminated or cut down on bread, pasta, rice, and other grains from their diet.  If someone literally "gave up carbs", their food choices would be dangeroulsy limited and this would not be realistic or safe for their longterm health. This misconception of what a carbohydrate is, is alarming and paves a way for further education and counseling to guide others to develop balanced eating patterns to include the appropriate amount and type of carbohydrate foods for their lifestlye and health goals.  Healthy carbohydrates are fruits, certain vegetables, certain dairy products, nuts, legumes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and other grain products. All of those foods should absolutely be part of a balanced diet. We get into trouble by eating an excessive amount of anything-and especially carbs-even the good carbs. Understanding how many grams of carbohydrates you need in a day based on your age, activity level, and health goals is the first step to developing a healthy relationship with carbs and not fearing them. Most people are shocked at how many grams of carbohydrates are needed in a day, because when compared to an "average" food diary, the amount needed per day, is far less than what is typically consumed. The lack of measuring out carbohydrate foods, leads to unknowingly overeating carbs, thus packing on the pounds or making it extremely difficult to shed excess weight, and blaming carbs for those difficulties. Instead, it would be so much easier to grasp a solid understanding of portion sizes, label reading to identify how many grams of carbohydrate is in a serving size, and comparing those numbers to the amount of carbohydrate that your meal plan calls for.  Grasping these key concepts will lead to lifestyle management of health and weight, without making you feel deprived of such delicious, nutrient rich foods. 

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