Carbs Aren't Always The Enemy: How To Make Friends With Them

Written by Jamie, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Plus, 5 Food Facts That Will Surprise You

The “don’t eat this” diet dictocrats have worked very hard, in recent years, to have us ban certain foods from our kitchens, to banish entire food groups, and to even nix natural food ingredients.

So we decided to take on these self-appointed protectors of our plates with 5 food facts that may well surprise you . . .

1. There are no good foods or bad foods. 

The diet dictators and food fanatics aren’t happy to admit that, though. 

It’s a lot simpler to demonize a whole food group, like carbs, or food ingredients, like gluten or fat.

Fact is, modern humans, or Homo sapiens, have been co-evolving with plants and nutrients and foods for 300,000 years, so our bodies recognize natural foods and nutrients — such as carbs, herbs and natural sugars — and that’s part of the reason that our bodies don’t go into an inflammatory frenzy when we eat them. 

Our bodies recognize them as “friends.”

But that’s not so with highly refined and ultra-processed foods, which are bleached, chemical-drenched and robbed of vital nutrients.

That being said, there are great, good and not-so-good (or “bad”) food choices we can make every meal and every day. 

The really-not-good food choices include, but are not limited to, refined sugars, white foods (like white bread, pasta, flour and rice), corn syrup, soda and partially hydrogenated (or trans) fats.

These fake foods and ingredients — especially trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients — are the true enemies of a healthy diet.

This is why finding “clean” diets with real food ingredients is so important to the human body. 

Almased is one diet, in particular, that is free of artificial sugars and colors as well as fillers and preservatives. 

Aside from the product’s “clean” ingredient list, Almased’s diet plan recommends foods that are among the very best and healthiest choices.  

And science shows that low-glycemic high-protein (LGHP) diets — including the Almased LGHP shake — can be among your very best and healthiest choices.

2. We need carbs.

In fact, the three main nutrients that the human body needs for energy are carbohydrates, protein and fat. 

Truth is, carbohydrate’s main function is to provide energy for the body.

That being said . . . all carbs are not created equal.

Biochemists usually classify carbs in one of two categories, simple carbohydrates (known as sugars) and complex carbohydrates (known as fibers and starches).

To gauge the impact of sugars and carbs on our body, scientists and nutritionists developed the glycemic index (GI), which assigns a number to each food depending on its ability to increase blood glucose levels. The lower the GI value of a carbohydrate, the less of an impact it has on blood sugar levels. 

Foods with no carbs — such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, herbs, and spices — and specific food components (like protein and fat) aren’t listed on the glycemic index because they don’t have any carbohydrates. 

A big advantage to low-carb / high-protein eating is that it dramatically restricts carbohydrates and sugars and basically forces the body to burn fat since the body has very little of the sugary stuff that evolution has programmed it to burn through first.

Science tells us that eating low-glycemic, fiber-rich foods — peas, lentils, legumes, whole grains — in one meal, for example, can prevent blood sugar levels from spiking upward after eating the next meal.

Complex carbohydrates are found in such foods such as whole grains and vegetables. 

Good examples of low-glycemic vegetables, beans, and legumes are: asparagus; broccoli; carrots; celery; chickpeas; green beans; kidney beans; lentils; lettuce; peppers; soybeans, spinach; tomatoes; and zucchini.

Fiber-rich complex carbs are the very best carbs to include in your carb-friendly diet, along with a protein source and good fats.

Simple carbs are the carbohydrates we have to be careful with, however, and being cautious about sugars is especially important for people with diabetes.

Examples of naturally occurring simple carbs include fructose (found in fruits and honey) and lactose (found in milk). 

Added sugars are in the carb danger zone, however, and include glucose, maltose and sucrose. 

They can be “hidden” in such sweeteners as rice malt syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit-juice nectars, and they’re added to thousands of products, including candies, baked goods and soda.

Considering that carbohydrates should make up approximately 45% of our daily diet, we just need to be carb conscious and aim to include more of the healthiest carbs onto our plates. 

Almased contains a small number of carbs from raw honey and, with the combination of high-protein, Almased is low-glycemic and supports energy and healthy blood sugar levels. 

Check out how Almased can be a healthy part of carb-friendly dieting with our favorite recipes!

3. Grains are great.

Ignore all of the misinformation you’ve read about grains and about all of the products that are touted as being “grain-free.” 

A grain-free diet is like gluten-free on steroids — taking one bad idea and making it worse.

Contrary to what these anti-grain groupies claim, whole-grain foods provide the fiber we need for proper digestion, plus it slows the absorption of sugar, which is especially important after meals. 

In addition, grains are packed with nutrients.

Good examples of whole grains are: amaranth, barley, black rice, corn, freekah, oats, spelt, quinoa and wheat berries.

4. Gluten is good.

And don’t get roped into the “I have to avoid gluten” brigade, either. 

Aside from people with celiac disease, gluten — which is actually a protein compound that’s found in grain — is quite good for us. 

In a study of 64,714 women and 45,303 men that was published in the British Medical Journal in 2017, gluten consumption was linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease. 

In fact, the authors added that “the [unnecessary] avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains,” which increases cardiovascular risk.

However, as mentioned before, individuals with gluten allergy should avoid gluten. Foods without grains or grain byproducts are usually gluten-free. 

Almased is sourced primarily from soy, which is naturally gluten-free. 

5. Fruit is fab.

Fruits are way different from other foods, like cookies and cakes (with added refined sugars), in how the body processes them. 

The fiber in fruits slows down fructose’s digestion, making it a bit more like a complex carbohydrate.

In addition, fruit is brimming with healthful compounds.

In fact, fruits’ defenses lie in their skin in the form of dark plant-nutrient colors. 

These “phytonutrients” (like anthocyanins in blueberries and carotenoids in apricots) protect the fruit from things like the sun's rays and insects, and they're also what give fruits their powerful antioxidant and health-promoting properties, which they pass on to us.

Some healthy fruit choices include: apples, bananas (ripe), blueberries, cherries (tart), cranberries, elderberry, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, pomegranates, prunes, raspberries, and watermelon.

Add colorful antioxidant-filled fruits to your daily Almased shake. 

So, forget all of the food fakery and misinformation out there, and 

let Almased be an important (and honest) part of your diet today!

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