Today, we’re going to continue our discussion about carbohydrates. In Part 1 we talked about the difference between good and bad carbs. Today we’re going to focus on how common misconceptions about carbs and a low-carb diets can easily keep you confused and weary of keeping good carbohydrates in your day to day diet.
It’s easy to be confused. In the ‘90’s, as ‘low fat’ and ‘heart healthy’ were health craze buzzwords, products began to advertise that their packaged carbs were ‘heart healthy’ because of their low fat content. But we’ve come a long way since those dark days. We realize that just because something is low in fat, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ok for you to eat. Now we’re seeing the opposite trend. Health and Fitness savvy folks everywhere are preaching that carbs are bad. Well, hopefully we cleared some of that up in Part 1, when we talked about the difference between simple and complex carbs. Hopefully that showed you that it is actually very healthy (and even necessary) to keep certain carbs in your diet.
Let’s go over some carbohydrate myths:
Myth #1: We need carbs in the form of bread, pasta, and cereal to be healthy.
This myth stems from the USDA’s food guide pyramid that was introduced in 1992. It’s what most of us grew up seeing and checking to help give us a rudimentary understanding of where our food should be coming from. As a teenager of the ‘90’s who discovered endurance sports and was instructed by every “healthy” person around me that carbs are the way for endurance athletes to fuel, I assumed I was doing really well with my diet when I sat down with a huge bowl of frosted mini wheats and orange juice in the morning and refuelled after my runs with loads of pasta and bread. All of that was at the bottom of the food pyramid -which meant it must be healthy. Obviously I was way off. As I pointed out in Part 1, there’s a difference between qualities of carbs and I was definitely going for the bad kind. I didn’t know any better. Now days, because I understand more, I’m inclined to get my carbs from other sources besides pastas and cereals. In fact, it’s totally possible to eschew most all those grains completely and not starve your body of good complex carbs. Here’s a list of foods that give you healthy carbs without all the sugar and additives:
Sweet Potatoes (most potatoes, but sweet potatoes and yams give you a heck of a lot more nutrients than the common Russet potato we Americans are used to)
Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
And there are plenty more! Trust me, you don’t need to touch another piece of bread again if you don’t want to. But remember that a good slice of 100% whole wheat bread is not a bad way to get good complex carbohydrates either. It really depends on what you feel is right for you.
Myth #2 Without whole grains in the diet, you run the risk of not getting enough fiber.
Not true. While true whole grains are a great source of both complex carbohydrates and fiber, there are plenty of other sources for fiber in the diet to get your recommended 25 grams per day. These include:
A half-cup of beans -6 grams
One ounce of almonds -3 grams
An apple -5 grams
Half an avocado – about 6 grams
Two tablespoons of flaxseed -nearly 6 grams
Myth #3 A low-carb diet means no carbs
This is for all you low-carb faithful out there. As low-carb became a buzz word, the misunderstanding of what this meant blew out of proportion. Now, it is true that some low-carb followers truly try not to eat any carbohydrates whatsoever. Hopefully, if you’ve read everything I’ve been writing, you realize that the right kind of carbohydrates are absolutely essential to being healthy. So, a healthy way to be low-carb means that you still allow good sources of complex carbohydrates in your diet from sources like vegetables, fruits and lentils, but you limit your intake of simple carbs and probably more of the starchy carbohydrates from things like potatoes and yams. A low-carb diet can be healthy to a point -just like anything else, take into consideration your individual health, activity level and nutritional goals when deciding what is best to include or shy away from in your diet.
The Gnarly Advantage
When Gnarly sets out to make supplements, we realize that by using the best ingredients and not cutting corners, we eliminate many of the health pitfalls other products face when held up to nutritional scrutiny. By keeping all our ingredients based on real, whole foods, we don’t have to worry about added sugars that will unnecessarily raise blood sugar or minimize the nutritional value of our other ingredients. Gnarly Feast is a meal replacement that gives you fiber from real food sources and has absolutely no added artificial sugars. Gnarly Whey is giving you a protein supplement that hasn’t been bogged down with artificial sweeteners to make it taste better. Both of these products stand out as powerhouses nutritionally that taste amazing -without having to compromise a smart diet weary of simple carbohydrates and artificial additives.