Monday, 19 September 2011
Oh, America. We love our carbs. Pasta with a side of bread, cake following dinner, or, my favorite: a nighttime bath with a slice of pizza. But here's the deal--we weren't designed to eat that much. The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams a day... while the average American benches 250-300 grams of carbs a day.
So what's a carb-happy eater like myself to do?
Well, first: chill out. Like most things with our bodies and science and numbers--it all depends:
"'What people can tolerate varies widely based on age, metabolism, activity level, body size and gender,' says Dr. Stephen Phinney, nutritional biochemist and an emeritus professor of UC Davis."
Even genetic disposition plays a role in carb consumption and processing.
So... choose wisely. The idea is to lower carb count, but also to make better carb choices. If Dorothy's tornado planted her house in a grocery store, she would come out in the bakery aisle asking: "Are you a good carb, or a bad carb?"
"A good carb is one that doesn't raise your blood sugar quickly. (Some people call these complex carbs.) Examples are whole grains, brown rice and legumes. Bad, or simple, carbs trigger a fast rise in blood sugar. Some examples are white bread, refined pasta, processed cereals, cookies, candy and sugary sodas."
Even tricker! Use this tip when buying bread: The 6 to 1 Ratio. There should be 6 gm of carbs to 1 gm of fiber. Stick to this to know if a package that claims to be whole grain is truly whole grain.
You also want to count the number that counts: net carbs. Keep this number low.
"First find the total grams of carbohydrates per serving, then subtract grams of fiber and sugar alcohols. For example, if one serving of canned beans has 18 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber, net carbs equal 12 grams."
Thanks to the LA Times for carb tips.
How much do you love carbs? Do you try to count them or don't bother with considering them in your diet? What's your favorite carb?