In my last couple of nutrition nibbles (Facebook video that goes out every Sunday) I’ve been trying to educate listeners about why low carbohydrate diets are bad for our brains and our bodies. Today, I just want to follow up with a little more information on what good carbs we should be consuming.
The truth is, when we overeat we DO tend to overeat carbs but they are the bad carbs. This is one of the reasons that individuals do lose weight on low carb diets - simply because they are eating fewer of the bad carbs like potato chips, white bread, french fries and sugary desserts all of which are empty calories and easy to eat too much of. So when I say you need 1/2 of your calories to be from carbs I am very specifically talking about GOOD carbs. In fact, we could re name this category of foods as simply high fiber foods, which is the most important distinction between good carbs and bad carbs. To make it clear, we are mainly talking about fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads & cereals. The average American only eats about 12 grams of fiber per day but the American Dietetic Association recommends 25-30 grams per day. This recommendation is based on promoting better health and decreasing diseases such as colon cancer, but it is also valuable to note that it promotes better weight management. In fact, individuals who consume 25-30 g of fiber per day typically consume 25% fewer calories as a result of the premature feeling of fullness that high fiber foods provide. So here’s your challenge...Count up your grams of fiber for one day. Whether you’re having a bowl of Raisin Bran or a piece of whole grain bread, you can look at the number of grams of dietary fiber on the nutrition label found on the box or package. If you’re having one small piece of fruit or 1/2 of a cup of vegetables you are consuming approximately 3 grams of fiber. Your goal for a decent source of fiber is 3 grams of fiber or more per serving. Add up your fiber for one day and then if you’re not at the 25-30 grams per day mark, start adding in more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Do it gradually or your belly may fight back but over time see if you can get to the place where you are daily consuming this much fiber. You will have an easier time losing weight if that is one of your goals, but regardless you will enjoy the benefits of a healthier brain & body!!!