Complex carbohydrates form a crucial part of a balanced diet, but eating too many refined carbs, such as white flour, sugar and white rice, is bad for you. ‘Bad’ carbohydrates are digested so fast that they cause blood glucose surges, leading to weight gain and other health problems.
Here are few ways and ‘new’ habits on how reduce these ‘bad’ carbohydrates.
Alright, this is a tough one but actually popcorn isn’t a bad food as it also contains useful fibre.
But when bought at the cinema or prepared from microwave packs, it’s often drowning in salt and fat. Far better snacks are small bags of nuts or seeds and fresh or dried fruit.
Good carbohydrates are foods such as whole grains and legumes which are composed largely of complex starch molecules that require lots of time and energy to digest and break down into the simple sugars that our bodies need for fuel.
Among the benefits of these foods is that they provide energy and large amounts of dietary fibre, which is vital for good health. In addition, whole-grain products such as wholegrain bread are much better sources of vitamins and minerals than refined cereals.
The effect of potatoes on blood glucose depends on how the potatoes are prepared. However, there is no need to avoid them completely, instead, you can keep portion size modest. Also, new potatoes tend to have lower GI (glycaemic index) than other types of potatoes.
Brown rice hasn’t been processed and it retains its high-fibre nutrients. It’s even better if you limit the amount you eat to 180g.
Cut up 30g portions of cheese and measure out 30g portions of nuts, then put one of each into little bags – Voila and you now have own supplies of healthy snacks!
Yes, skip the rolls, tortillas and bread slices and instead make a sandwich inside lettuce leaves.
You can go :
– Mexicana with a sprinkle of low-fat cheddar cheese, salsa and chicken
– Chinese with sesame seeds, peanuts, bean sprouts, sliced green beans and prawns with a touch of soy sauce
– Deli style with turkey, cheese and mustard
Eat every 3 to 5 waking hours and only until you’re satisfied but not overstuffed. Never get the point where you feel soooo ravenous to the point you can eat the proverbial ‘whole horse’. Not only is that a recipe for overeating, but your body will want sugary, quick-to-digest bad carbohydrates to satiate your need for fuel quickly.
Potato crisps, corn chips and biscuits are mostly bad carbohydrates, made primarily from refined flour, sugar, salt and/or oil. You want to remove as many of these foods from your daily eating as you can.
But many of us love them cannot totally do without them. So buy them in smaller pack sizes like say 30g and limit yourself to one pack per day.
Choose porridge rather than eggs and bmn for breakfast. It is a tasty, high fibre way to start the day. If it’s too bland for you, consider sweetening it with chopped fresh or dried fruit.
Almost everyone loves a big bowl of pasta topped with rich tomato sauce. The tomato sauce couldn’t be better for you but spaghetti on the other hand, is pure carbohydrate with a high glycaemic load and if you eat too much of this you could put on weight.
So, if you want to cut back on your pasta intake, here are some healthier alternatives :
– go for wholemeal pasta. It’s denser than traditional pasta with a firm, al dente texture.
– grill vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and onions and slice into long, thin pieces. Mix up and pour your spaghetti sauce over the vegetables for a tasty and immensely healthy meal.
– try healthy whole grains instead of pasta. And suprisingly spaghetti sauce goes well with brown rice, pearl barley, chickpeas and so on.
The terms ‘glycaemic index’ and ‘glycaemic load’ are applied to individual foods to indicate how much and how fast, the carbohydrate in that particular food raises the level of glucose in your blood. The glycaemic load measurement also takes account of the quantity of carbohydrate in a food.
Foods with a low glycaemic load such as legumes, bran cereal, brown rice, wholegrain bread and nuts – have less impact on your blood glucose than foods with a high glycaemic load which includes white rice, spaghetti, potatoes, cornflakes and sugary juices and drinks.
Eating more low glycaemic food will help you to keep your blood glucose steady and avoid the lightheadedness and ‘shakes’ associated with blood-glucose drops, which usually follow rises.