OK, but what’s a simple carbohydrate? Think white, as in white bread, white pasta, white rice, and sugar. Not only do these foods spike blood sugar, they tend to be loaded with calories and lacking nutritional value. Replace them with whole-grain foods such as brown rice and whole-wheat pastas and breads; moderate your intake of red meat; load your plate with veggies; practice a bit of self-restraint at the dessert cart; and you’re most of the way there. To get all the way there, determine your caloric needs (for help, go to www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/index.htm) and remember this golden rule: Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight. It doesn’t matter whether those calories come from carbohydrates, protein, or fat.
But what about all those low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets, you’re asking. Do they really work? “You’ll lose weight because carbohydrates are where most people get most of their calories,” explains Hewlings. “Sure, these diets are low in calories. But they’re also low in fiber and other micronutrients we need for good health.”
And good health, our experts agree, is not just about losing weight.
WHAT’S A SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATE?
THINK WHITE, AS IN WHITE BREAD, WHITE PASTA, WHITE RICE, AND SUGAR. NOT ONLY DO THESE FOODS SPIKE BLOOD SUGAR, THEY TEND TO BE LOADED WITH CALORIES AND LACKING NUTRITIONAL VALUE.