Carbs and fats are two things you have learned to avoid. But were these overgeneralizations?
Back in the 1970s studies stated that a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol could be a factor that led to heart disease. As time progressed this information became widely accepted and the American pubic began to avoid fats altogether.
This led to some serious problems with the health of America. Many Americans tried to avoid food with any type of fat and chose low fat and fat-free alternatives. Instead of looking for ways to keep up a balanced diet, consumers started to eat foods like fat-free ice cream, low fat chips, margarine and other junk food alternatives. These “guilt-free” options may have been lower in fat, but they are typically very high in carbohydrates.
Now, the data is more clear — fats are not bad for the body. A few of the reasons you need fats is because they provide energy, build healthy cells and help your body use vitamins. They are only bad if they are saturated, or loaded with cholesterol.
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With this paradigm shift carbohydrates began getting a bad reputation. But are all carbs bad for you?
Just like with the over criminalization of fats, generalizations about carbohydrates are causing people to cut carbohydrates from their diets completely. Carbohydrates tend to be high in glucose, which turns into sugar in the body and affects your insulin levels. High Insulin levels can lead to high blood pressure or even diabetes.
“We aren’t exercising enough, which is how our bodies use glucose,” explains Anne L. Peters, MD, professor of medicine at Keck School of Medicine and director of the USC Westside Center for Diabetes at Keck Medicine of USC. “Exercise and weight loss make our bodies more sensitive to insulin, while obesity and inactivity make us resistant to insulin and thus diabetes ensues.”
There are both good carbs and bad carbs. The good carbs act as your body’s primary energy source and are necessary for any healthy diet. But which carbs should you be avoiding? There are three factors that determine this: The glycemic index rating (a measurement carried out on carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on blood sugar), serving size and glycemic load per serving.
Within the glycemic index, the carbs you eat should be around rated around 50; the higher the number, = the worse that particular food is for your body.
According to the glycemic index, these are 5 of the worst carbs:
1. Baked russet potatoes
Baked russet potatoes earned a score of 111, being the highest rated on the list. Each serving size is 150 grams and has a glycemic load of 33 per serving.
2. White baguette
White baguettes earned a score of 95. Each serving size is 30 grams and has a glycemic load of 15 per serving.
Cornflakes earned a score of 93. Each serving size is 30 grams and has a glycemic load of 23 per serving.
4. White rice
White rice earned a score of 89. Each serving size is 150 grams and has a glycemic load of 43 per serving.
5. Instant oatmeal
Instant oatmeal earned a score of 83. Each serving size if 250 gram and has a glycemic load of 30.
These are just five of the worst carbs you can eat. For a full nutrition plan, visit your primary care physician and consult with them about your diet. They will be able to give you an in depth guide on how to best manage your health.
If you’re ready to explore healthier nutritional options, consider meeting with a digestive expert to discuss a personalized plan. The USC Digestive Health Center has some of the world’s top digestive specialists. If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://digestive.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.
By Leonard Kim