By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS
Carbs have a bad rap, without question, but they aren’t all bad. In fact, certain carbs play a crucial role in meeting your nutritional needs and keeping you healthy and energized. There is a marked distinction between “good” (healthy) carbs and “bad” (not healthy) carbs, however.
The basic building blocks of all carbohydrates are sugar molecules. You can find them in everything from pie and fresh corn to fruits and beans. They are also one of the most desirable fuel sources for your body’s energy requirements.
If you don’t fuel your body with healthy carbs, your body may be forced to scavenge from the protein in your diet to supply the glucose it needs.
So what should you eat, in right-size portions, and what should you ignore?
As your bariatric dietitian has advised, after weight loss surgery, focus your carb consumption on foods with the greatest health benefits, unprocessed and designed by Mother Nature:
100% whole grains
Low-fat and skim milk products
Good carbs have these healthy characteristics:
High nutrient volume
Low glycemic index
Good carbs make you feel and stay fuller, also.
Bad carbs have been manufactured or processed (natural nutrients have been removed to increase shelf life, artificial chemicals and sweeteners have been added to increase the flavor):
· Baked goods
· White bread
· Fast food (most)
· Breakfast cereal (most)
· Crunchy, salty snack food
Bad carbs have these non-health characteristics:
· Empty calories offer no nutritional value
· They can be addictive and promote unhealthy cravings
· They are cheap and available everywhere
· They look appealing with bright shiny packaging and big advertising budgets
Your Carb Game Plan in 5 Easy Steps
1. Don’t allow bad carbs in your home, workplace, car.
2. Fill your kitchen and plate with fresh vegetables and fruits at each meal. Snacks should be based on a fruit or vegetable base.
3. Include a serving of leafy green vegetables at least once or twice a day.
4. Ensure your grain choices are whole-grain and are the first ingredient you see on product contents.
5. During every visit with your nutritionist, talk about carbs in your diet—good and bad—and make a plan to move entirely to the “good” carb team.
Carbs are not the enemy—they’re needed for optimal health.
But it’s up to you to choose the right carbs to fuel your body’s engine and support your weight management goals.
As we say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2020, I would like to thank you for your steadfast courage during this difficult year.
We have all learned that we’re stronger than we think and remarkably more resilient. My congratulations go out to all of you who have broken new records for weight loss this year, despite non-stop obstacles. I admire you all.
Wishing you a peaceful and healthy holiday season.
The best is truly yet to come!