“You’re eating too many carbs. You need more protein. You won’t be able to sustain yourself,” come the warnings from the uninformed.

Often the warnings come from friends and family who are overweight, unhealthy, dealing with various all-too-common diseases. Those who consume foods that are incredibly unhealthy but for some reason, consider themselves to be authorities on healthy eating.

The topic of carbs

Carbs. Dreaded carbs. The way many people talk about carbs, you’d think that they are the worst thing on the planet.

They have a love/hate relationship with carbs. They avoid them altogether one day and the next, they binge on carb rich (and unhealthy) foods like cakes, donuts and breads.

Yet, are they as bad as people make them out to be?

It’s not carbs that are good or bad, it’s the type of carbs you consume that determine if they are healthy or not.

According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, the best carbohydrates are those that contain a lot of fiber, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These types of carbohydrates take longer to break down into glucose and give you the most nutrients along with your calories. Refined carbohydrates are sometimes referred to as “bad carbohydrates”. These are carbohydrates that have been processed to remove parts of the grain and have had sugar added. Common examples of refined or processed carbohydrates are white bread, cakes, and cookies.

Carb Distinctions

The misconception that carbohydrates are bad, or that they are fattening, prevents people from consuming a properly balanced diet. Carbohydrates are essential for good health.

Healthy carbs foods like whole grains, legumes and fruit — are nutrient-rich. These foods can be very healthy for you and play an important role in your overall eating.

Simple-carb foods are those that your body breaks down quickly and easily, such as sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup) and refined grains (white flour, pasta, white rice).

These are the carb laden foods that can be unhealthy. Yet, complex-carb foods, which include whole grains and legumes, are good for most people. They have large, complex molecules that are more difficult to digest and consequently don’t cause the same rapid increase in blood sugar.

To eliminate carbs altogether is eliminating some very important building blocks for your health.

Good vs Bad

According to nutrition expert and former Cirque du Soleil performer, Kristy Lee Wilson, “Carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed are the ones most important for daily consumption. These carbohydrates have been shown to help control blood sugar, insulin concentrations, energy levels and body composition. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, packaged oats and added sugars enter the body quickly and, as a result, individuals tend to experience increased blood sugar, blood triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol, as well as insulin resistance. Unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables are preferred as they include abundant vitamins and minerals, are high in fiber, promote enhanced satiety and stabilize blood sugar levels.”

Wilson is a Sharecare fitness expert, bestselling author, international speaker, certified personal trainer and youth fitness specialist. An elite athlete from a very young age, Wilson’s ultimate mission is to motivate, inspire and educate as many people as possible to live life to their fullest potential.

Read her full article on carbohydrates at https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/carbohydrates-getting-bad-rap-6605.html

The Best Carbs

In order to get the healthy, slow processing carbs, avoid processed foods and stick to a whole-food diet. Even on a plant-based diet, when you eat processed foods, you are not eating the healthiest way possible.

Rather than the packaged plant based, pop it in the microwave Thai bowl, go for whole grains like barley, brown rice, oats, legumes like black beans, vegetables, and fruits.

Whole foods contain more fiber to increase the feeling of fullness as well as adding fiber to your food intake. Fiber is necessary for good health

Whole foods also require you chew more. This allows your brain to let you know when you’ve eaten enough.

In addition, whole-food-based carbohydrates are healthier options because they do not contain added sugars, chemicals, or damaged fats like trans fats.

Consuming carbs is necessary. Remember, it’s not carbs that are bad, it’s the type of carbs. When you consume a diet rich in WFPB (whole food plant-based) you will be consuming healthy carbs. The very foods your body benefits from.