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Carbs or no carbs

By Anonymous October 4, 2008 - 1:55pm
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I see so many diets that indicated that carbohydrates are fattening and you shouldn’t eat them. My understanding is that carbs provide the body with energy and without them, I would think we would be lethargic. What happened to the good ol’ days when there was a food pyramid where we followed a simple plan? Does anyone have any good advice?

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Our bodies need carbs as part of a balanced eating regimen. Not all carbs are bad!

The food pyramid was turned upside down a few years ago when the USDA considered providing better guidelines in response to increasing obesity among Americans.

Athletes and physically active people need carbs to help replace glycogen stores lost during hard activity and as soon as possible following the activity.

Eat real food - whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, a balance of healthy oils, etc. - and your body will thank you.

October 8, 2008 - 4:57pm

Don't we all wish life in the grocery store was simpler these days!

One time I counted just the kinds of Tide on my grocery shelf. There were several different scents, and unscented, and boxes, and bottles, and those with fabric softener in them, and those with freshener in them, and on and on and on -- there were more than 30 kinds of this one brand of detergent. It seems like every product now wants to branch out to capture more and more tiny niches of the market. We see this when cookie makers suddenly start making candy bars, and when candy makers start making ice cream bars, and when restaurants branch out into frozen food lines. Everyone wants to compete for your grocery dollar!

The carbs question is complicated today because of this -- there are dozens and dozens of products that claim to be "good" for you and yet are high in carbohydrates; and there are products that are not at all good for you, perhaps because they are very high in fat, but they have low or no carbs.

But it's also simple. And in this way, you will do well to remember your own "good old days" comment. Just a generation ago, there were far fewer frozen and processed foods. As we have gotten into more and more fast and convenience foods, the nutritional value has become more questionable.

The closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for you. That's why whole grain bread is better than regular bread; it's why apples are better than apple juice (unless you find apple juice without added sugar).

Avoiding the "white" foods -- products made with white flour and white sugar -- will go a long, long way toward eliminating the "bad" carbs from your diet.

Going toward good foods -- fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, whole grains and the healthy fats -- will increase your good carbs, and is simpler to remember in the aisles than our ever-changing food pyramid.

October 8, 2008 - 9:29am
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