What are “Good Carbs”?

These days carb-bashing is all the rage. This has gotten so out of hand that some people are afraid to eat a carrot!

Part of the problem is all of the “diet dogma” out there. We have been trained to believe that we need to follow some complex set of rules and regulations ordained by some diet guru, and it all gets very confusing.

And half the time it doesn’t work and we end up going back to our old way of eating out of boredom or feeling deprived!

So, what is a healthy person looking to lose weight or manage their blood sugar supposed to do?

Unhealthy vs healthy food

Are we allowed to eat carbs or not? If we stop eating carbs how long can we sustain it? Is it bad to remove most carbs?

And most importantly, how do we distinguish between “good carbs” and “bad carbs”? And does such a thing even exist or is that just more diet dogma?

These are all great questions to ponder.

And we must keep in mind that every person should personalize their diet to their unique needs.

So the amount of carbs YOU need to eat is something that is unique to you. I suggest experimenting a little, tracking what you eat, and keeping tabs on how you feel.

Observing your body will make you the EXPERT IN YOU.

If you get better sleep and have more energy with more carbs, then maybe that is just what you needed.

If you get all bloated and tired, then maybe you need to adjust.

In our WYN Weight Loss Program we guide people through the process of tweaking their diet and finding just the right balance of carbs, protein, and fat. So if you are interested in learning more about that, you can book a call here.

I have seen just WAY too many people go “low-carb” only to have it backfire. It’s one thing to eat low-carb for a month to kickstart some new habits. But generally, I have found it unsustainable for most people at best and at worst I’ve seen it cause an unhealthy relationship with food.

What we want is to focus on GOOD CARBS!

These are the nutrient-dense, high-impact carbs that feed your body, your soul, AND your microbiome (healthy bacteria in your gut and body).

The cool thing about “good carbs” is that they don’t cause the typical feeding frenzy seen with “empty carbs” like chips, pasta, or white bread.

They are satisfying. They contribute to your health. And they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar.

Here is the list of requirements for a carb to be considered “good”. The more points this carb food hits, the better it is for you.

  • High in fiber
  • Not too high in total carb content compared to the fiber
    (for example, 1 cup of oatmeal has 30 grams of total carbs
    but 5.4 grams of fiber whereas 2 pieces of white bread
    have 26 grams of carbs and about 1 gram of fiber)
  • It’s a whole food, not processed
  • High in polyphenols (plant nutrients that power up your health)

Some examples of “good carbs” include:

  • Foods rich in “prebiotic” fibers such as onions, shallots, leeks,
    garlic, scallions, carrots, sunchoke, artichoke hearts, jicama,
    dandelion greens, asparagus, berries, cherries, banana
  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Fiber dense vegetables (aka “roughage”) such as kale,
    broccoli rabe, collard greens, Brussels sprouts
  • Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts,
    cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, watercress)
  • Whole grains (think whole wheat bread vs white bread
    or wild rice vs white rice)
  • Fiber-dense fruits such as passionfruit, guava, mango,
    persimmon, avocado, jicama, apples
  • Berries
  • Chia or flax seeds
  • Fiber-dense nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans
  • Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi
  • Polyphenol-rich foods such as buckwheat, celery, parsley,
    arugula, red onions, radicchio, capers, walnuts, berries, dates

You can learn more about these and other “weight loss superfoods” here.

If you start adding these foods to your diet, you will find that the low-carb craze is not relevant anymore.

Disabled woman having diet breakfast to loss weight

When you eat these “complex carbs” your microbiome is happy, you avoid blood sugar spikes, and you burn more calories when digesting your food.

I like the easy-to-remember phrase, “beans and greens”. Make sure you get your “beans and greens” every day!

Also, please note that fiber is not absorbed into your blood so it is FREE CALORIES!! Yes, indeed!

And if you have noticed your metabolism has slowed down this is super helpful. Learn more about how to deal with a sluggish metabolism here.

When you remove highly-processed “white carbs” and eat nutritious, fiber-rich, high-polyphenol foods like those listed above, everything will begin to function better in your body.

Here is a list of “bad carbs” to avoid as often as you can (we all like treats but these should not be a day-day feature in your diet).

  • White bread and frankly most bread, bagels, croissants, etc
  • Regular white pasta
  • Boxed breakfast cereal
  • Cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc
  • Corn chips, crackers, etc
  • Heavily breaded items like fried chicken
  • White rice
  • Soda, iced tea, energy drinks, and other sweetened drinks (including sweetened coffee)
  • Beer and wine

So, I invite you to take a week to include lots of the “good carbs” listed above and completely avoid the “bad carbs” and see how you feel. You may expect some withdrawal symptoms like headaches (drinking water can help reduce headaches) but after about a week, you may notice better energy, weight loss, better mental focus, a flatter belly, fewer aches and pains, and more!!

This is just one of the many ways we can guide you to improve your health without suffering or feeling deprived.

Our mission is to help you lose weight with ease and we will be your trusted companions every step of the way. If you want to learn more reach out to book a call. We will see if our 6-month WYN Weight Loss Program is right for you. Just click the link below.

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