Now that I have your attention…..
Carbs are not only found in cereals, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. The word carbs, or carbohydrates, has a mostly negative reputation in regards to diet. That’s largely because a typical British diet features a large amount of processed and/or refined carbs in foods such as those I just mentioned. Refined or processed carbs can cause various health problems if forming a regular part of your diet.
Now for the good part – carbs in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes contain useful amounts of fibre and many other beneficial nutrients.
Vegetables are probably the most important and the one that we tend to be most lacking within our current diets. Fruit and legumes are also good choices, although fruit is best restricted to a couple of portions a day due to a much higher sugar content.
In regards to vegetables, a good mix is likely to include a wider range of the essential nutrients you need from your diet. Eating a ‘rainbow selection’ that includes different colours of fruit and veg is a great way of achieving this without getting too bogged down in the details of which ones to eat more of.
All food is made up of a mix of ‘macronutrients’ and there are three of them (protein, fat and carbohydrates). A carrot, for example, contains 89% carbs, 5% fat and 6% protein. An apple has 95% carbs, 3% fat and 2% protein. From this information you can start to see that some healthy foods contain a lot of carbs.
Refined grains such as white pasta, with bread and many common cereals should be avoided if possible. I’d recommend restricting intake of all grains (including whole grains) as they can cause issues such as inflammation and digestion problems for some due to their gluten content. They may also interfere with absorption of other nutrients and tend to be much higher in total carb content (and may therefore represent a problem to those intolerant of lots of carbs, i.e. diabetics or those conscious of their weight).