Sunday, July 27, 2014


Many people have questions about whether or not carbohydrates are actually good for the 
body based on mixed messages from the media. The answer to this question depends on the type of carbohydrate that is being consumed. In fact, the type of carbohydrate makes more of an impact than the amount of carbohydrates that are eaten. Examples of good carbohydrates include whole grains (unprocessed), fruits, vegetables, and beans. These promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and many important phytonutrients, which can help prevent diseases and keep your body running properly. Foods like white bread, pastries, soda, and other refined and processed food are examples of bad carbohydrates. These can lead to weight gain, prevent weight loss, and cause diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy to support bodily functions and provide energy for daily activities. Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate recommends filling one fourth of the plate with whole grains and half of the plate with fruits and vegetables. Harvard’s School of Public Health recommends the following ways for someone to add more healthy carbohydrates to the diet:
1.     Eat whole grains for breakfast, like whole grain cereal, oatmeal, or whole grain bread.
2.     Use 100% whole grain breads for lunch or snacks.
3.     Eat brown rice or quinoa.
4.     Eat fruits instead of drinking juice.
5.     Limit the amount of potatoes consumed and eat more beans instead.
More information on this can be found at:
            I think that it is very important that the word about the importance of healthy carbohydrates be spread. I have heard too many times that you should not eat carbohydrates because they lead to weight gain, which is partially true. A study shows that a low carbohydrate diet actually helped people lose more weight than a diet where fats were cut out. However, good carbohydrates can contribute to weight loss. When you limit the types of bad carbohydrates you consume and keep that at a low level, you are cutting out things like soda, white bread, sugars, and other things that really have no nutritional value anyway and cause a spike in glucose that is stored as fat. So, even though these foods do not contain fat, they contribute a great deal to the fat that accumulates on the body. So, once again, this all ties back into it’s not the amount of carbohydrates someone eats, but the type of carbohydrates consumed that have the biggest effect on health and the body.
            Carbohydrates are split into two groups; simple and complex, but these do not depend on whether or not they are healthy. Simple carbohydrates are composed of one or two sugars, while complex carbohydrates are composed of three or more. Simple carbohydrates are also much easier for the body to digest than complex carbohydrates. Examples of simple carbohydrates include fruits, dairy products, and vegetables. Examples of complex carbohydrates include starchy vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
More information about this can be found at:


  1. I found this blog very interesting because I've always watched what I ate and there is always so much information on there on what's good for you and what's not, but none of it is ever really proven. People come up with these get slim quick diets that are never tested or proven safe to do.

  2. I really appreciated this blog post. I have know that whole grains are good for you. But with all the confusing media out there I was starting to doubt what I had learned. Your post has some great information about the misconceptions behind carbs. The truth is not all carbs are bad carbs!

  3. The problem with dietary advice is not generally the science, but how it is presented by the media and the promotion of pop-science diet books that promote one specific approach (paleo diet, carbs are bad, only eat grapefruit, etc). Good public health sites like the Harvard site we used in class give solid dietary advice based on the consensus of nutrition researchers. This post is a nice summary of that advice related to carbohydrates.