Carbohydrates are possibly the most controversial, confusing, and misunderstood components of nutrition. The conflicting information on this topic is mind-boggling, and a simple google search will make you want to pull your hair out.
The confusion is at an all time high…do I go gluten free? Is low carb my best bet? What about no carbs at all? What’s a whole grain?
The simplest, but yet most unsatisfying answer I can give you is that everyone is different. If there were a one size fits all approach to nutrition and weight loss, none of us would struggle! It’s about finding what works for you…
What I can tell you, is that not all carbs are created equal, and to lump them all into one category and slap a “bad for you” label on them is simply ridiculous. There are grains and carbohydrates that are excellent for the body as long as they are consumed in the right types, quantities, and at the right times.
And giving up gluten does not mean giving up grains all together, a common misconception! Whole grains without gluten include amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, wild rice, and gluten free oats, many of which I use and recommend in client plans.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber, can help to reduce cholesterol levels, and excrete toxins from the body. The recommended fiber intake per day is >35g for men and >25g for women, however the average American only gets 10% of the recommended daily intake. Whole grains are an excellent way to increase this number.
A serving of whole grains is one ounce, or about: 1/2 cup of cooked grains or 1 slice of bread. The problem is that the average American serving of grains is about 3-4 times the recommendation, so practicing portion control is key.
When shopping for grains, be sure to avoid added sugars and overly processed grains (for example, cereal is not a good option because it is highly processed and filled with sugar, even though it states “whole grain”) Purchase grains in their most simple form, just the grain itself, and then use it to make recipes and delicious meals full of nutrition.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes with whole grains that will keep you feeling full and satisfied without cravings and crashes later:
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