To Your Health: Don’t avoid carbs, just go for the good ones

bread2These days, eating carbohydrates feels like a guilty pleasure.

Bread, pasta, potatoes. When did these foods become the bad guys? And are they really so horrible for you?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

The truth is we need carbs. Carbs are the main source of energy for your body, and should make up 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake.

If you eat 2,000 calories a day, that means you should limit yourself to about 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day.

For comparison’s sake, a cup of macaroni noodles has 78 grams of carbohydrates, or about 25 to 30 percent of your daily value.

While the math can get confusing quickly, there is an easy rule of thumb: Steer clear of highly-processed carbs and go for the stuff with lots of fiber and other essential nutrients.

That means opt for brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat pasta or breads, legumes or carb-rich vegetables (like sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and squash).

breadgraphicCarbs that are bad for you come from sugars and refined “white” grains, like white bread or bagels, sugary drinks (there are 35 grams of carbs in one can of soda!), and baked sweets.

These bad carbs break down in your body too easily, causing rapid spikes in your blood sugar.

Getting too many bad carbs in your diet can lead to chronic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.

Now, we don’t want to simplify the issue too much. There’s still plenty of debate about how much of your daily intake should come from carbs, and which foods have good carbs.

But scientists agree we shouldn’t fear carbs, and that you can’t go wrong with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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