Your questions about carbs - answered
When I think of carbs, my mind immediately pictures bread, potatoes and pasta. I then think about how I could never live without any of these foods, yet I’m surrounded by people who are cutting carbs out of their diet because they’re ‘bad for you’. But I’ve also heard that carbs give you energy, so cutting them out completely can’t be the answer. To clear up the confusion, we asked Australian nutritionist and Helga's Lower Carb Bread Ambassador, Susie Burrell to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about carbohydrates.
1. Are there ‘good’ carbs and ‘bad’ carbs?
While no one food is inherently bad, there are some types of carb-rich foods that don’t offer much nutritionally. Simple sugars, white bread and white rice, soft drinks and confectionery are all carb-rich foods that you could call far worse options than wholegrains, fruits, dairy and veggies.
2. Is cutting out carbs the key to weight loss?
Generally, cutting back, not cutting out. With more sedentary lifestyles, we need far less carbs than we once did, but the muscle does need some to burn body fat. It is easy to cut back with simple food swaps like regular white bread for Helga’s Lower Carb Bread (which uses a mixture of seeds to replace 25 per cent of the carb content) or enjoying just 1/2 to one cup of grains, rather than filling your entire plate with pasta, rice or cous cous.
3. Are ‘low carb’ foods better for you?
‘Low carb' foods often replace the calories with artificial sweeteners, fat and or protein.
bh tip: Since ‘low carb’ foods are laden with different kinds of calories, make sure you always read the label.
4. Do carbs cause bloating?
For people who are sensitive to some of the sugars or FODMAPS in foods, yes - some wheat-based foods can cause bloating. But this depends on the individual.
5. You shouldn’t eat carbs at night. True or false?
Most people don’t need to consume a lot of carbs at night, because it’s typically a time when we are sitting (using little energy), plus we tend to eat late as it is. Half to one cup of carbohydrates is more than enough for most people.
6. Can eating too much carbs have a negative impact on the body?
Eating too much of anything can cause weight gain over time. More to the point, an excessive intake of refined, high-GI carbs (like soft drinks, pasta and beer) can cause increased blood glucose levels and weight gain over time.
Did any of the answers above surprise you? Is there anything else you’d like to know about carbs?