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Understanding Carbohydrates

Understanding Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essentially sugars needed by the body to provide energy.   Under the best of circumstances your body can break carbohydrates down quickly and efficiently.

What Are Good Carbs?

Good carbohydrate foods are those that are still in their natural state and have not been processed or altered by people or machines.

Good carbohydrates are nutritious. Good carbohydrates are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and fiber that will give you energy over a long period of time and a sense of feeling full. Foods that are high in fiber will also lower cholesterol levels and assist the body in removing toxins. Good carbohydrates generally have a low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index will support the body nutritionally and not cause a spike in blood sugar.

Here are examples of good carbohydrate foods:

  • Fruits
  • Many grains
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain pastas

What Are Bad Carbs?

Bad carbohydrate foods have been refined or processed and are no longer in their natural state. Most of the nutritional value has been removed from these foods. Bad carbohydrate foods are generally loaded with many additives, such as flavorings and preservatives.

Processed food are not easily digested and they will spike your blood glucose level.
Bad carbohydrate foods include:

  • Candy
  • Baked goods made with white flour
  • White pastas
  • Cracker/chips/snack foods
  • Sodas


The calories in the foods above are “empty” and they have no nutritional value yet they are very addicting due to the high sugar content and the consequent effect on the brain. If you get stuck in the habit of eating too many bad carbs, you’ll notice a spike in your energy levels shortly after consumption. However, energy levels will generally fall off rapidly making you crave more bad carbs . Individuals who have a lifestyle of eating bad carbs are more at risk to develop diabetes, heart disease, obesity and more.  Stay tuned to our next newsletter for healthy carb appetizers and main courses for the holiday!

To Your Health,

~ Dr. Kathleen Sherwood

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