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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jill King

Carbs or No Carbs?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

With all the diet recommendations out there, it can be confusing and draining to decide what is best for you. Carbs are highly controversial these days. All body types are different and that means what works for one may not work for all.

Here at Southeast Integrative Health, we want to put you back in control and help you navigate your own customized plan. Let's not forget, it will be a plan that you love and can stick to. Before we begin, let's talk all things carbs.

What is a Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. The liver converts all of these sugars into glucose, which is carried through the bloodstream — accompanied by insulin — and converted into energy. Carbs usually considered good are complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes. These foods also tend to have fiber.

Fiber, to us, is what separates the good carbs from the not so good carbs. Eating more fiber can help you lose weight, even if you don't make other changes to your diet. You digest it more slowly than simple starches and sugars. Fiber helps to lower overall body fat, improve insulin sensitivity, support good bacteria, and as mentioned above, helps you feel full.

Good Carbs:

  • Vegetables: All of them. It is best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.

  • Whole fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.

  • Legumes: Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.

  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.

  • Seeds: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.

  • Whole grains: Choose grains that are truly whole, as in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.

  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

People who are trying to restrict carbohydrates need to be careful with the whole grains, legumes, tubers and high-sugar fruit.

Not So Good Carbs:

  • Sugary drinks: Coca cola, Pepsi, Vitamin Water, etc. Sugary drinks are some of the unhealthiest things you can put into your body.

  • Fruit juices: Unfortunately, fruit juices may have similar metabolic effects as sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • White bread: These are refined carbohydrates that are low in essential nutrients and bad for metabolic health. This applies to most commercially available breads.

  • Pastries, cookies and cakes: These tend to be very high in sugar and refined flour.

  • Ice cream: Most types of ice cream are very high in sugar, although there are exceptions.

  • Candies and chocolates: If you’re going to eat chocolate, choose quality dark chocolate. We suggest 72% and higher cocoa.

  • French fries and potato chips: Whole potatoes can be healthy for some people, but french fries and potato chips are not.

These foods may be fine in moderation for some people, but many will do best by avoiding them as much as possible.

Should I Eat Carbs?

This is such a great question. The fact that you are willing to ask shows that you are not just going with the flow. This is a great time to experiment with your body. We, at SIH, have experienced that lower carbs serve us and our clients. Get curious with your own body and listen to what it tells you. Here are some great questions to ask:

When you are stressed/emotional, do you reach for sweet/salty carbs to deal with emotions?

Do you feel bloated after eating certain carbohydrates?

Do you feel sluggish and tired throughout the day?

Do you think about certain foods all day long?

Does your body feel inflamed? (Swollen belly, feet, legs, hands, face)

Key Takeaways

  • Carbs in their natural, fiber-rich form are generally healthy. Processed foods with sugar and refined carbs are extremely unhealthy.

  • Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets are very effective for weight loss and lead to improvements in metabolic health.

  • Each body is different. Be willing to test your body and listen to what it tells you. Join us for a community weight loss program on August 3rd. For more information call 828-382-8005.

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