Make the Right Choice
Think of carbs as raw material that powers body. We need them to make sugar for energy.
They come in two types: simple and complex. What's the difference? Simple carbs are like quick-burning fuels. They break down fast into sugar in our system. We want to eat less of this type.
Complex carbs are usually a better choice. It takes our body longer to break them down.
Read the "Fine Print"
Nutrition labels offer an easy way to spot added sugar, the source of simple carbs that we want to cut back on. Just look for words that end in "ose."
The chemical name for table sugar is sucrose. Other names we might see include fructose, dextrose, and maltose. The higher up they appear in the ingredients list, the more added sugar the food has.
Just Avoid Simple Carbs?
Well, it's not quite that easy. Foods that have been processed with added sugars generally aren't as healthy a choice, it's true. But simple carbs occur naturally in some foods that are part of a balanced diet. For example, most milk and other dairy products contain lactose, or milk sugar.
Get Smart About Bread
Does our loaf have the complex carbs that are good for us? It depends on the grain used to make it.
Look for bread made with whole grains. Barley, rye, oats, and whole wheat are some top choices.
What About Fruit?
They're sweet, which must mean they have simple carbs, right? That's true, but they're still a healthy choice. They've got fiber in them, which helps slow the breakdown of sugar. Plus, most are a good source of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium.
Fruits with skins we can eat, such as pears, apples, and berries, are especially high in fiber.
Watch What We Drink
That soda we are sipping could be a sneaky source of simple carbs. That's because non-diet sodas contain a sweetener, often high-fructose corn syrup. It's right there on the nutrition label, usually one of the first ingredients listed. Twelve ounces of a regular soda can pack 39 grams of carbs, all coming from the sugar in it.
Many of the foods we associate with autumn are great sources of complex carbs.
Try starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.