Carbohydrates often have a bad reputation but that’s because their nutritional value is misunderstood, according to a registered dietitian.
Susan Waston said there are less healthy carbohydrates and healthier ones, which can give us energy. She wants people to know certain carbs can be beneficial.
“We need carbohydrates for brain fuel, they break down to glucose in our body,” Watson said.
“We often think that carbs … are just from your grains and starches, potatoes and pasta, and then people will cut those out but actually a lot of foods have carbohydrates in them.”
Beans, lentils, legumes, vegetables and whole grains all have some starches, Watson said, but they are healthier.
An easy way to calculate how many carbs you’ll be consuming is by looking at the nutrition facts on your food.
“The fiber can be subtracted from the total amount of carbohydrates in a serving,” Watson advised.
“So for example, if you were having a serving of chickpeas and it says it was 30 grams of carbohydrates, but it has ten grams of fiber, you can subtract it and it’s actually only 20 grams of net carbohydrates per serving.”
Watson also recommends looking to eat foods that are whole grain instead of whole wheat.
“On a package, you want to make sure it says 100 percent whole grain … because sometimes the whole wheat might be mixed in with a little bit of the white processed flour,” she said.
“So what we want to do is go with the highest fibre content when it comes to whole grain products, so pasta … quinoa is very high in fibre, rolled oats as well, especially the ones that are unprocessed, and our wild rice and brown rice.”
Watson said you shouldn’t cut carbs out of your diet completely because if you do, it will be hard to have balanced meals.
“Having smaller amounts of whole food carbohydrates is very healthy for you … make sure you pair your carbs with proteins and your vegetables to make sure your meals are balanced,” she added.