Eat Smart

The Truth About Carbs

by Rachel Tipovski, blogger

I can’t tell you how many of my friends who are on diets refuse to eat carbohydrates. They look at them as if they are evil, the source of any ounce of body fat or responsible for that extra pound on the scale.

Many popular diets, such as the South Beach Diet or the Atkins Diet, have popularized the no-carb approach to dieting. Not eating carbs may benefit you in the short term, but it is definitely not sustainable long term. Depriving yourself of the foods you love only leads to binge eating later.

Unfortunately, bad carbs seem to pop up everywhere at college. They’re in the vending machines in dorms, in the soda and alcohol many students drink and in all the tastiest bar and game-day food.

With that said, there is a big difference between white carbs and whole grain carbs. White carbs include pastries, sugary sodas, white bread, pasta and rice are the kind that will have unhealthy and unflattering results. White carbs do contribute to weight gain and can often prevent weight loss, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

However, whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, grains like quinoa, steel cut oatmeal are great sources of fiber and can help to protect against all kinds of chronic diseases. If you want to shed a few pounds without sacrificing an entire food group try the healthier alternatives

  • Go Whole Wheat: Bread, pasta, rice- look for the key words whole-grain. A Harvard study that followed a group of women over 12 years found that women who ate the most whole grains weighed less than those who ate the least.
  • Manage Portions: Cutting back on portions can be challenging, especially because every restaurant seems to give you extra large “single” servings. When it comes to carbs, the healthy serving is about the size of a tennis ball (or half a cup).
  • Share: By splitting a plate of pasta with your friend your also splitting the calories. If it just seems to taste too good to pass up, try eating half and save the rest of your meal for later.

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