What is a Bad Carb?

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Working on one of those new low carb diet plans? Trying to figure out which carbs are good guys and which ones are bad? You're not alone. In fact, almost anyone who has tried a low carb diet plan has tried to decide which are the right kinds of carbs to eat and which naughty ones have to be placed in the time out chair for the duration of the diet. So, what exactly is a bad carb?

A bad carbohydrate is one that is highly processed or extensively refined by man or machines. In most cases, they have been so extensively handled that all of the nutrients have literally been sucked out of them. In fact, you may even find in some cases that nutrients were reinjected into them because they had been so depleted. Look around the grocery store – see anything with a “Fortified” label? That means those nutrients were added back in after they were taken out.

So, why would anyone turn these carbohydrates against their good nature? More often than not good carbs go bad so companies can easily transport them across the company to grocery stores like yours. In other cases, of course, the explanation is not quite so easy. Bad carbs are really tasty. White sugar fits into many of the foods that we call bad carbs, and how many people do you know that don't like baked goods that contain the evils of white sugar?

But, why are bad carbs so bad? There are a couple of reasons really. First, your body simply doesn't handle them well. The more highly processed a food, the less your body is able to digest it properly, leading to all sorts of health problems, not the least of which is weight gain. Bad carbs change the levels of hormones in your body.

Your insulin production begins to fluctuate, you don't have the energy level that you should, and your body just starts converting things to fat right and left. The real problem here is that these bad carbs are empty foods. They simply increase your hunger levels, leading to more eating which leads to more weight gain.

Need some examples? The cookies in your cookie jar are a great one. Sodas are another. Snack foods, candy, and any baked good are bad carbs. White bread and pasta fit into that category as well. If you're a lover of bad carbs like these, you may have a rough time with that low carb diet. Lots of dieters, though, report success and a greatly minimized craving level for the bad guys, so hang in there.

What is a Good Carb?

With the low carb diet craze hitting seemingly everyone these days, you may wonder what makes a carb “good” per se. Believe it or not, the carb didn't just make Santa's list, the idea behind a good carb does actually have some scientific backing.

A good carbohydrate, according to most of the low carb diet plans on the market today, is one that natural and unprocessed. This means that if a person or a machine has interfered with it at all, it certainly hasn't been to any serious degree. There are other parts to this equation, though, and different low carb diets rank these pieces differently.

Good carbs have to have lots of fiber. This factors in for several reasons. First, those kinds of carbs can help curb your hunger because they help you feel satisfied. This leads to a higher energy level from that type of carb.

Moreover, because good carbs are high in fiber, they help to give your body a lower cholesterol rate, and they also help to move things through the digestive tract much faster, thus helping to eliminate waste from your body. Several diets focus on a glycemic index rating, and good carbs are low on the glycemic index. This, according to industry experts, helps to keep your blood sugar rating your insulin production levels where they should be in your body.

Good carbs also have to have high nutrient values. These can help to ward off disease problems at a later date. Finally, good carbs should help to stimulate your metabolism, which in turn, burns more fat in your body.

Still wondering if what you're holding is a good carb or a bad one? Here's a quick guide. Whole vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, avocados and peppers are good carbs. Whole fruits like apples, apricots, cherries, plums, and berries count too. Beans like green beans, black beans, and navy beans are good carbs. Legumes like peas and soybeans also rank on the good carbs scale.

Nuts like walnuts and pecans are right up there, as are seeds like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Whole grain cereals like the kind you might see in your local health market are also good carbs. Some diets will even tell you that certain low fat dairy items fit in this category, but its important that you check with your specific diet plan.

Distinguishing the good carbs from the bad is a tough job, but most low carb diet plans will help you out with lists of foods that you should avoid during your dieting session.

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