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Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs – What You Need to Know

Not all carbs are created equal when it comes to diabetes prevention, weight loss and blood sugar control. Being mindful of ‘good’ carbs versus ‘bad’ carbs can help regulate blood sugar, insulin, cravings and hunger.

What are Good Carbs?

Good carbs have these qualities:

  • High in fiber – Fiber slows digestion, preventing blood sugar spikes. Options: whole grains, beans, vegetables, some fruits.
  • Low glycemic index – They do not rapidly raise blood sugar levels. Choose less-ripe bananas, stone fruits, berries.
  • Packed with nutrients – Good carbs provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. See: sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, tomatoes.
  • Satiating – They fill you up and curb appetite due to fiber and volume. See: oatmeal, quinoa, leafy greens.

What are Bad Carbs?

Bad carbs share these traits:

  • Refined and processed – Milling and processing removes fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoid: white breads, pastries, chips.
  • Full of added sugars – Sugars like sucrose, corn syrup and cane juice spike blood sugar quickly. Limit: candy, soda, desserts.
  • Low in nutrients – Products made with refined grains offer empty calories and no nutrition. Say no to: crackers, pretzels, baked goods.
  • Addictive – Processed carbs are designed to be hyper-palatable. This promotes overeating. Be cautious of: granola bars, frozen meals, fast food.

Aim to get majority of daily carbohydrate intake from good, nutritious whole food sources. Limit bad carbs and added sugars which cause blood sugar peaks and valleys, inflammation, cravings, and diabetes risk. Focus on fiber for satiety and blood sugar regulation.

Need help making good choices? I’m happy to help.

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