Super Carbs - The New Wonder Foods for Weight
By Linda York
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
To eat or not to eat?
That is the question with carbs. Depending on the fad diet, carbs
are either in or out, but the good news is that now you can have your cake (if
it's whole grain) and eat it too.
Remember the Food Pyramid? Well, that
has undergone some serious renovation, and the new architecture spells out
fresh, updated USDA dietary guidelines. How many servings of whole
grainsa rich source of complex carbohydratesare we supposed to be
eating a day? Don't know? Don't worry, you're not alone. The new guideline for
these amazing foods is three servings a day. All right, we have heard that
whole grains are great for us, but what are they, how do we use them, and how
do we include them in our diet?
Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Carbohydrates provide the body with its main source of energy. Certain tissues
and parts of the bodythe brain, the central nervous system, parts of the
kidneys, and red blood cellsmust have a constant supply of carbohydrates for
energy formation. The brain alone burns 600 calories' worth of glucose (a
carbohydrate) per day just from thinking (if you don't think, it's somewhat
The amount of carbohydrates that an
individual will require over the course of the day will depend in part on the
total number of calories the person needs (read this for
the relationship between diabetes and carbs). That amount will vary because
of age, metabolism, body type, and, most of all, activity level. In general,
most people do well consuming between 40 and 50 percent of their calorie intake
in the form of carbohydrates.
For a more in-depth look at how carbs
Natural vs. refined
carbohydrates come from whole-food items, such as string beans, apples,
carrots, and brown rice. Refined carbohydrates are derived from processed food
items such as crackers, cookies, jelly beans, and bread or pasta made with
white flour. Guess which group is considered healthier?
Complex vs. simple
Complex carbohydrates are found in many whole-food
items, such as vegetables, legumes, and whole grains (oatmeal, wheat berries,
barley, corn niblets, etc.). They take longer to digest and metabolize because
of their complex structure, especially their fiber content.
Simple carbohydrates are generally
found in processed food items (white-flour products and sugars) and are
digested and metabolized quickly because of their lack of fiber. They are also
found in fruit, as fructose, but when eaten as a whole food, they're encased in
fiber, which minimizes the negative effect known as the sugar rush.
Plants are the primary source of
dietary carbohydratesfruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. Milk and
milk-based products also contain some carbohydrates.
although not a source of calories, adds bulk and texture to foods. It slows
down your digestion time so that you stay full longer.
here for "5 Ways to Get More Fat-Fighting Fiber."
Soluble fiber, from foods like apples
and oatmeal, sets up a kind of gel filtration system in the intestinal tract.
It binds with bile salts (the end product of cholesterol metabolism) and other
waste products and carries them out of your system. Bile attaching to fiber
helps lower the body's cholesterol level.
Insoluble fiber, such as wheat bran,
swells with water and helps prevent constipation. It also binds with substances
such as estrogen and can remove excesses of this hormone from the body.
Get lean and happy
So why is there so much buzz in the nutrition world about whole
grains? The new story is weight loss. The Harvard School of Public Health
conducted a study that found that "a diet rich in these good carbs slows weight
gain and can reduce body fat."
Cooking with whole grains is a fun and
satisfying adventure. They have a sweet, slightly nutty taste, and are
satisfying because of their chewy texture. Plus, there are so many different
ways you can include them in your recipes. The combinations are endless, and in
no time at all, you'll find yourself creating your own wholesome, delicious,
8 Super Carbs
Here are eight Super Carb whole-grain foods that
you can add to any healthy balanced diet and exercise regimenwhether you sweat
off the pounds with
Hop Abs Dance Party Series or dance, slim, and tone with
- Brown rice.
This nutritional dynamo packs more B vitamins, fiber,
protein, selenium, magnesium, and potassium than white rice. At 45 minutes, it
takes longer to cook than white rice, but you can get it precookedeither
frozen or in a vacuum pouch. There are a lot of new products that make it easy
to include brown rice in your diet. You can find it as the main ingredient in
crackers, rice cakes, cereals, pasta, and rice milk.
This is an excellent source of fiber and a great source of
protein, B vitamins, selenium, zinc, and iron. It also contains beta-glucan and
pectin, which are both recognized for their cholesterol-lowering abilities. It
makes a great side dish just plain, or you can find it in some soups and
Pronounced keen-wah, this crunchy grain is a
complete protein that contains lysine (an amino acid missing from most grains),
and is a great source of riboflavin, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium,
zinc, copper, and fiber. It's used to make some varieties of pasta and hot and
cold cereals. It's also a great change from rice or pasta as a side
Crunchy and fast to cook, it's a good source of fiber and
plant protein. It also contains potassium, B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium,
copper, and zinc.
- Wheat berries. This is a sweet and chewy
source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium, as
well as phytochemicals.
This is the name for wheat berries that have been steamed
and cracked. It may be used in pilafs, soups, and bakery goods; as a stuffing;
or as a healthier substitute for rice or couscous.
It is the original grain from which all others derive and
was the standard ration of the Roman Legions that expanded throughout the
western world. Farro is lighter in taste and texture than wheat berries, but
has the same nutritional ingredients. It is also sometimes called spelt, and
can be found in a variety of whole-grain breads.
- Whole-wheat couscous.
Couscous is a really quick-cooking pasta made from whole
wheat. It's great as a side dish or with a stew ladled on top.
Fun whole-grain choices include:
whole-wheat tortillas; frozen pizza with whole-grain crust; whole-grain
waffles; whole-grain crackers; barley, wild rice, or whole-wheat pasta soups;
whole-grain pretzels; air-popped popcorn; 100 percent whole-grain bagels and
English muffins; brown rice sushi; and whole-grain cereals.