Depending upon who you’re talking to – and to which diet they ascribe – carbohydrates are either “for you, or against’ you.” What’s the truth of it? As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and as with most things relating to your health, it is best to avoid any extreme, whether it be a diet or an opinion.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. The former are the ones that get most of us in trouble – fructose, sucrose and lactose are simple carbs otherwise known as “sugars.” Complex carbs? Now there’s another story entirely. Here we’re talking fiber, vegetables, whole grains, beans – carbs you should include every day in your diet.
Complex carbs offer a range of anti-cancer and anti-coronary disease benefits. Not only that, they carry most of the vitamins and minerals you’ll need on a typical day. They carry high amounts of anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties, are high in fiber and generally come from a stable food source. The fact is, almost all carbs are healthy in their natural state. It’s when we get into processed sugars and processed grains that we begin to remove the “good stuff” that is vital to a healthy diet.
Some acceptable sources of good complex carbohydrates include fruit, whole grain cereals, unprocessed rice (bismati/doongara), vegetables, and beans. Simple carbs found in products like soft drinks, canned fruit, processed grains and the like contribute to a high glycemic index, which is a measure of the insulin/sugar response in your body.
To make a long story short, the higher the glycemic index of a particular carbohydrate, the worse that carb is for you and your diet. A high glycemic index can lead to inadequate immunity response, anxiety, the feeding of cancer cells, premature aging, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, arthritis – you get the idea.
Your best recourse? Proper diet and exercise. Talk to your doctor about a balanced plan that’s right for you and click here to listen to our audio presentation about carbohydrates and the rolls they play in your daily health.