The correct amount of carbohydrates that should be eaten during dieting is one the the most controversial subjects in the dieting industry.
Some preach low carbs, others say only calories matter, and yet others say to eat only slow carbs. What is the truth?
People have been successful, at least short-term, using all three. BUT, what really matters is long-term.
Diets that are restrictive, such as a low carb diet, may have faster short-term results, however, eating that way for life may be unsustainable. A Paleo Diet has also been very successful for many (avoids grains and refined carbs), but, again, it may not be sustainable.
A diet that utilizes a more balanced approach is better in the long run. This type of diet fits into life more realistically and is more likely to become a lifestyle.
When eating carbs always try to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. For example:
Also, choose nutrient dense carbs before anything else.
Carbs within colorful vegetables and fruits are always better for your body than carb-rich foods like breads, pastas, rice, and potatoes. Here's a great graphic that illustrates how to incorporate carbs into your diet.
It is also best to aim for fiber-rich carbohydrates (peas and beans, fruit, oatmeal). Higher intake of fiber is linked to lower heart disease and diabetes risk. Fiber is also essential for regular moving bowels, and less constipation!
Modern agriculture and processing has lead to nutritionally poor grains. However, with a bit of know-how in the cooking department, there are many less known grains that are nutritionally rich. This list includes brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, popcorn, millet, wild rice, whole-grain barley, rye, and oats.
If in doubt choose carbohydrate foods that are the most unprocessed or minimally processed.
Last Reviewed 4 December 2014