What Are Carbohydrates?

What are carbohydrates? What are healthy carbohydrates?

There are 3 macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Contrary to to some extreme diets out there we need all three. You can’t be healthy just eating predominantly carbs – raw vegan – and you can’t be healthy just eating predominantly protein and fat – atkins. I know it’s not sexy to eat balanced, “square” meals, but it’s the only way step off the diet roller coaster and achieve life-long health.

Carbohydrates come from fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes. I like Paul Chek’s simple definition: Carbohydrates = No Eyes. Carbohydrates predominantly grow from the ground. Of course you can get a lot more complex. A carbohydrates is an organic compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These include sugars, starches and celluloses. In other words, carbohydrates are fruit, grains and vegetables. 

Whole carbohydrates would include:

  • apples, pears, strawberries, kiwi, plums, berries, peaches, pineapple, bananas, and all other fruit
  • carrots, spinach, cucumber, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and all other veggies
  • wheat berries, rice, oat groats, nuts, seeds, legumes  – lentils, garbanzo, black beans etc.

Processed refined carbohydrates would include:

  • pasta, bread, crackers, rolls, muffins, instant oats, cereals and any grain that has been popped, shredded, flaked or stripped

What are the best carbohydrates to eat?

In my opinion the best carbohydrates are fruits and easily digested vegetables like squashes or other root vegetables. I don’t recommend a lot of salad. If you want more bang for your nutritional buck, skip the salad and pair a steamed vegetable or some fresh fruit with your protein instead. Having said that, we’re all different. Macronutrient ratios may need to be fine-tuned for best results for your individual health and vitality.

Most importantly… do not skip your carbs! You need carbohydrates. Just choose your carbs wisely.  Avoid refined carbs and grain based carbs. Fresh fruit and vegetables are best!

Erin HugginsWhat Are Carbohydrates?

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