Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in recent years, mainly through the popularity of low-carb diets. But whether you’re gluten-free, diabetic, or trying out a low-carb diet, choosing starches that provide healthy carbs over empty carbs is good practice. In fact, we could all brush up on understanding of how healthy carbs are for everybody, regardless of whether monitoring carb intake is a personal priority.
What does it even mean for different starches to be considered healthy carbs? Well, that depends on what qualities in a starch are best for your personal health.
Here’s a Basic guide on How to Eat Carbs, from Several Standpoints
If You’re Watching Your Gluten…
…you’ll want to expand your carb horizon. One of the first ingredients that comes to mind when someone hears the word “carbs” is wheat. Bread and pasta made from refined white flours are such staples in the modern American diet that going gluten-free can seem like a daunting task.
A possible consequence of seeking gluten-free options, though, is that you’ll be exposed to a whole world of healthy carbs that you’d overlooked before. You’ll want to up your intake of beans and legumes, which are available in countless varieties and will keep you feeling full. And while you might have already traded your couscous out for quinoa (a complete protein) a while ago, have you tried Jerusalem artichokes, which have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties? Or buckwheat, which is high in a chronic-disease-fighting flavonoid called rutin? By diversifying your carb intake, you’ll be inspired to get your healthy carbs from tasty, nutrient-dense starches you might never have tried before.
One thing worth noting is that since you’re side-stepping refined flour when you’re gluten-free, a common misconception is that gluten-free substitutes are necessarily going to be made up of healthy carbs. For example, products that are rice-based might be less nutrient-dense than their wheat-based counterparts, robbing you of a critical opportunity to take in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Certain gluten-free substitutes can also carry a higher glycemic index, setting you up for a “sugar crash” that you weren’t bargaining for. This leads us to the next issue of glycemic index.
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