My Take on Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Low Carbs, and all of the Carb BS

September 16, 2010

by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

With so much talk, confusion, and controversy in recent years about “carbs”, I wanted to give you my take on good carbs vs bad carbs, low carb, and all the other “carb confusion” out there. I’ll also show you one of my favorite healthy carbohydrate choices.

First of all, although I’m not a “low carb” extremist, I do believe that one of the main reasons so many people struggle to ever lose any body fat is that they are overconsuming processed carbohydrates such as:

•cereals
•pasta
•rice
•bagels
•muffins
•breads (even whole grain varieties are not ideal if you’re looking to lose body fat)
•sodas
•juices
•candies
•crackers
It is extremely hard to lose body fat if you’re overconsuming any of these types of carbohydrates (even if you workout very hard). In addition to causing wild blood sugar swings and insulin surges promoting direct body fat deposition, eating too many carbs also increases your appetite and cravings.

My take on it is that the majority of people struggling to lose body fat would do much better following these types of carb guidelines:

1. Reduce your grain-based carb products in the diet (cereal, pasta, rice, crackers, etc) and focus more of the diet on healthy grass-fed and/or free-range meats and eggs, grass-fed raw dairy, and TONS of vegetables and fruits.

2. Instead of the grains for most of the carbs, try getting most of your carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, and a variety of whole fruits and berries (NOT fruit juices, which remove the beneficial fiber as well as other essential parts of the fruit)

3. If you’re going to get any grains at all, focus on the most nutrient dense and fibrous portions of the grain… the germ and bran… this means that the best parts are getting oat bran instead of oatmeal, and using rice bran and wheat germ (beware of gluten in wheat if you have any intolerance) by adding to your yogurt, cottage cheese, salads, soups, etc. This way you get all of the most beneficial nutritious parts of grains without all of the excess starches and calories.

For best results with grains, try to stick only to sprouted grain products if you’re going to eat any grains at all.

4. To replace the void if you’re used to consuming lots of bread, pasta, cereals, and other carb sources… try filling that void with more healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters as well as healthy proteins such as raw grass-fed dairy and meats, whole free-range organic eggs, etc. Healthy fats and proteins go a long way to satisfying your appetite, controlling proper hormone and blood sugar levels, and helping you to make real progress on fat loss.

With all of that said, here’s one of my favorite carb sources that is high in fiber as well as tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:

Sweet potatoes or yams

I always choose the orange varieties instead of the white varieties of sweet potatoes. One of the problems with sweet potatoes is the time it takes to bake a sweet potato for 1 to 1.5 hrs.

I cook my sweet potatoes in a different way that only takes 5 minutes and they come out delicious… and no, I would NEVER use a microwave (I’ll talk more about why never to use a microwave to cook your foods in a future newsletter).

The easiest and quickest way I’ve found to cook up a sweet potato is to slice it up into thin slivers and put it into a pan that you can cover with a lid. I add a touch of butter, virgin coconut oil (beneficial medium chain triglycerides), and about 3-4 Tbsp of water and simmer with a covered lid for about 5 minutes.

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