Got a Beef with Carbs-20 Reasons to Love Your Carbs!

For whatever reason, the topic of carbohydrates fuels a firestorm of controversy.  Look anywhere on the Internet, and you will find a preponderance of carb criticism and vilification.  Indeed, not all carbs are created equally, and the carbs which should be emphasized for health are the complex carbohydrates.  These carbs are high in nutrient density.  Complex carbs include lentils, grains, fruits, and vegetables.  Here are 20 guilt-free reasons to include these nutrient-dense carbohydrates into your diet:

  1. They provide a rich source of B-complex vitamins, many of which are not derived from other food categories.
  2. In the form of fruits and vegetables, they are an excellent source of vitamin C.
  3. They provide significant sources of potassium.
  4. They are naturally low in fat.
  5. They are loaded with anti-oxidants and potentially health protecting      phytonutrients.
  6. Complex carbs are high in fiber to aid digestion and prevent constipation.
  7. Fiber-rich complex carbs aid in blood glucose control.
  8. Complex carbs fill you up and help you stick with a weight loss diet.
  9. Sufficient carbohydrates prevent ketosis.
  10. Adequate carbohydrate intake spares protein, allowing it to be used by the body for healing, repair, and growth in children.
  11. If you are decreasing your calories from carbs, you need to increase your      calories from another nutrient such as animal protein, which in excessive      amounts may weaken bones.
  12. If you are decreasing your calories from carbs, you need to increase your      calories from other nutrients such as fat, which may lead to plaque build up on your arteries.
  13. A low carbohydrate intake might increase cortisol levels, which may increase risk of some cancers.
  14. A low carbohydrate intake might lead to an increased animal protein intake, which can increase painful gout.
  15. You need carbohydrates in your diet to make glycogen-this is your storage fuel for endurance athletic events as well as what your body needs to rely on for fuel in the event you cannot eat for a day!
  16. Dairy products are nutrient dense carbohydrates and are important contributors of nutrients necessary for maintaining both strong bones and normal blood pressure.
  17. Most Americans fall short of magnesium requirements and many good sources of magnesium are complex carbs such as spinach, bran cereal, beans, lentils, and dairy products.
  18. Strong bones need more than just calcium, and many of the nutrients necessary for strong bones-vitamin K, various B vitamins, and magnesium are readily available from complex carbs.
  19. As food, they create less of a carbon footprint than growing animals to eat.
  20. They are satisfying and taste good!

Emphasizing unprocessed nutrient dense carbs such as lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables, fat-free dairy, and whole grain foods is not controversial, it is intelligent eating for the 21st century.



Nutrition on the Net-5 Sites to Start Searching

Type “nutrition for health” into your favorite search engine, and you may get literally millions of hits!  It’s no wonder it is difficult for consumers to navigate the Internet and find correct nutrition information.  With endless pages on an ever-growing World Wide Web, and bearing in mind that there are no editors on the Internet, it is very difficult for the average consumer to find accurate nutrition information.  Also, keep in mind that websites with the extensions such as org. or edu. are often good starting points for accurate information.  On the flip side, you may want to avoid commercial websites as sources of credible nutrition information because the purpose is often to promote a specific product!

Here are a 5 nutrition related websites you can use to start a search for timely nutrition information:

  • The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine-This is the “go to” site for information on supplements and alternative medicine. In particular, you can access some good information on herbs and botanicals, including safety and efficacy. Consumers really need to bear in mind that not all over the counter herbal supplements are either safe or effective.
  • The Nutrition Blog Network-If your preference is the blog approach to gathering your nutrition information, these blogs are written solely by registered dietitians (RD).  It is a vast amount of nutrition information with topics for all.
  • This website, UpToDate, was recently mentioned on a Chicago network morning talk show.  I thought I would check it out, and I approve.  It is a great website to become an informed patient, and depending on the diagnosis, there is also information on nutrition if applicable.
  • The American Institute for Cancer ResearchYou don’t need to have cancer to benefit from this wonderful website.  The site is full of healthy recipes and suggestions for reducing your risk of cancer through diet and healthy living.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-Here the consumer can access a variety of suggestions on how to carry out a healthy eating lifestyle.  You can also find a dietitian in your zip code.

Additional links on various topics may also be found at:

Keeping a keen eye on the websites you rely on for accurate information will help you become a better educated and savvy health and nutrition consumer.  Happy surfing.

Do you have a favorite nutrition website to share?