The popularity of low-carb and no-carb diets such as the South Beach and Atkins diets have given carbohydrates a bad rap. Registered dietician Anna Reinwand of the OSU Medical Center, however, shares the truth about carbs.
“Carbohydrates are not bad for you,” explains Reinwand. “Foods containing carbohydrates have been the staple of diets of humans for a very long time.
“Foods containing carbohydrates provide fiber, B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, chromium, as well as many phytochemicals that can help keep us healthy,” she adds. “For many of these nutrients, carbs are the best way to get them in your diet.”
Carbohydrates, along with protein and fats, provide energy.
“When you cut out foods with carbs, you are eating fewer calories, and you do lose weight,” says Reinwand. “If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to make changes in your life that you’re willing to stick with forever.”
She recommends, instead, eating healthy carbs and using the USDA’s Myplate nutrition guide.
“Choose healthy carb choices like fruit, vegetables, bread and crackers made from whole wheat flour, whole grain pasta, brown rice or corn tortillas every day,” says Reinwand. “Limit foods made from refined white flour, white rice, pasta and most desserts to once a week or less.”