Whole Grains – in her article Healing for Dummies, Molly Spile wrote that “…a whole grain is a complex carbohydrate, the original with all its parts. A refined grain is just a carbohydrate, and is less nutritious.” Brown rice, oats, corn, rye, quinoa, barley, and wheat and their products (i.e. cereals and breads) are examples of whole grains. A common mistake is thinking of “brown bread” as whole wheat. In order to be classified as whole grain, the first ingredient must say whole wheat flour instead of enriched flour. Otherwise, it is just another carbohydrate. The same rule applies in products containing any grain.
Legumes – such as split peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates.
Vegetables – all vegetables in their unprocessed form are good; the starchy (corn, peas, squash, and yes, even a potato) and non-starchy (carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc).
Fruits – all fruits in their unprocessed forms are good.
Remember, the more unprocessed the “good” carbohydrate, the better. For example, apple (with the skin) is better than applesauce, which is better than apple juice. Baked potato is better than mashed potatoes (unless you leave the skin on), which is better than potato chips.
The Bad and the Ugly Carbohydrates:
Sugars – products that contain sugars like table sugar, corn-syrup, high fructose corn-syrup, fructose (to name a few). Americans are eating more sugar than ever before, almost a ½ cup a day from sources such as soft drinks, drink powders, candies, jams, spreads, preserves, and syrups.
Refined Carbohydrates – white bread, white rice, or any product that removes the bran and germ from the grain and strips it of fiber and nutrients turn a good carbohydrate to a bad one.
Sugars + Refined Carbohydrates – this is when carbohydrates get ugly is when we combine the two into cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and pies to mention a few.
Now, lest you think a morsel of sugar should never pass your lips, think again. It is part of life to enjoy a cake or cookie now and then without feeling like you will have a heart attack tomorrow. Try to eat well 90% of the time, and then you can really enjoy the sweet things of life.