Posts Tagged ‘good carbs’
September 23, 2015 by admin
Most of the time when I visit my home in northern Italy, I voraciously ask family, friends and even produce vendors for ideas and recipes they recommend for various ingredients. Sometimes, though, I become the source of such information for them. Breakfast foods would be a case in point. Italians are not the best breakfast people. Travel and the internet have led some inquisitive people to try something new. I do my part too. I’ve offered these muffins to my fast-paced relatives and friends as a perfect antidote to their beloved brioche or biscotti breakfast. I added pinoli for an Italian twist but any nut will work well.
September 25, 2014 by Johanna Burani
These people feel “addicted” to these foods. No surprise: sugar, salt and fat are food’s most effective flavor enhancers and the brain’s reward center pays close and affectionate attention to them when they enter the body. This can lead to deep-rooted neurological pathways for food addictions.
Is Brain Change Possible? keep reading »
March 6, 2014 by Johanna Burani
No doubt about it: carbs elevate your blood sugar level. That’s what they’re supposed to do. The body breaks down the carbohydrate in food into readily-available fuel (glucose) more easily than it does for protein or fat. How quickly that fuel enters the blood from the gut determines how much and for how long that energy will last. keep reading »
January 14, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Let’s face it, our mothers and grandmothers had an easier time food shopping than we do today. They mostly cooked from scratch. Their ingredients were simple: flour, sugar, butter, potatoes, milk, broccoli, spinach, apples, a chicken or pork roast. They knew if their foods were fresh or not by “reading” their appearances rather than the labels they were wrapped in. They didn’t have to deal with “organic,” “gluten free,” “whole grain,” “low fat,” and so on. How times have changed!
Of course, we, too, can choose to cook our meals from scratch and many are doing just that. But this is not an option for everyone. So we must become savvy shoppers, knowing how to separate the marketing jargon from the true nutritional facts found on packaged foods. This applies to concerns about calories, fat, fiber, salt, preservatives and, yes, good carbs.
What are you looking for when shopping for good carbs? Here are the most essential properties:
- short list of ingredients – usually a good sign of minimal processing (e.g. Quaker’s old fashioned oats has one ingredient: 100% rolled oats)
- natural ingredients – you should be able to pronounce and spell these! (e.g. Breyer’s vanilla ice cream contains milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor)
- first ingredient is a whole and intact grain (e.g. brown rice, bulgur, lentils)
- the food resembles its original form (corn on the cob vs. popcorn or corn flakes)
Here is a partial list of good carbs to get you started:
- all-bran cereals and large, thick oat flakes requiring 5+ minutes cooking time
- all rye/pumpernickel-based breads and crackers
- all pasta: cooked al dente (not overcooked or precooked)brown, long grain and wild rice
- all whole grains: barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn
- all legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, black-eyed peasall fresh vegetables, except parsnips, white potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga
- all fresh fruits, except watermelon, very ripe pineapple, very ripe, large bananas
- all canned fruit in its own juice, except pineapple and lychees
- all dairy foods: milk, yogurt, ice cream, cooked puddings, custards and mousses
- all nuts and chocolate (especially dark)
August 5, 2012 by Johanna Burani
The body “runs” on glucose, its simplest form of energy. And it gets this energy by breaking down every carbohydrate we eat. So, all the starches we eat (like breads, pasta, potatoes rice, cereals, crackers and baked goods) and all our sugars too (like all sweetened foods and beverages, fruit, milk and yogurt products) fuel the body all day long.
The body is looking for a slow, sustained delivery of this energy because that’s how it uses it: the right amount all the time, not just after eating. A good carb is digested slowly and slowly releases the glucose it becomes into the body for immediate use. There is no gush of glucose into the bloodstream, just a steady trickle of energy, there for the taking as needed. This keeps the body in metabolic harmony and keeps us feeling fuller longer too.
A balanced meal containing good carbs provides the body with a steady stream of the right amount of energy it needs when it needs it. No sugar highs or lows to deal with. The body loves this set up and performs all of its thousands of metabolic jobs effortlessly under these conditions.
What makes a carb “good?”
- It is slowly digested in the gut.
- It is released as glucose into the blood as a slow, steady stream of energy over a prolonged period of time.
- It doesn’t spike blood sugar levels.
- It keeps us feeling fuller longer.
How do we know that the body slowly digests good carbs? Because of the 30-plus years of research on the glycemic index. Studies conducted all over the world have accumulated consistent and conclusive evidence that explains how specific carbohydrates behave in the body. Some are “gushers” and some are “tricklers.”
Much, much more will appear on this blog about the virtues of the glycemic index concept. For now though, let it be said that a good carb is also a low glycemic carb.