We strongly believe that carbs aren't the enemy. How could they be when pizza, pasta, and bagels all belong to that food group? With that said, there's really no nutritional case for refined and processed carbohydrates, which are forms of sugars and starches that don't exist in nature. While they are derived from natural whole foods, they've been processed in some way to "refine" them, which essentially means making them easier to digest. In other words, they have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients, and in most cases, supplemented with added sugar.
Unfortunately, these refined carbs are everywhere—in muffins, bagels, white bread, white rice, instant oatmeal, sugary breakfast cereal, cornflakes, potato chips, most crackers (except for 100% stone-ground whole-grain crackers), cookies, pancakes, waffles, pies, pastries, pretzels, most granola bars, tortillas, rice cakes, croutons, panko breadcrumbs… the list goes on. All of these foods are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing unhealthy spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Over time, this can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, in addition to weight gain and havoc on your metabolism.
"Consuming too many processed, refined carbohydrate foods can not only produce nutrient deficiencies, but it can also lead to the development of chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease," explains SFGate. "Furthermore, compared with whole, unprocessed carbohydrate foods, refined carbohydrate foods lower the thermic effect of your meals, cause you to gain weight and decrease your basal metabolic rate."
Instead, focus on eating fiber-rich whole carbs, which are in their natural state and therefore take longer for your body to digest. Steel-cut oats, sweet potatoes, pancakes made with coconut and almond flours, bulgur, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, millet, rye, amaranth, rolled oats, and spelt. "People who eat good carbs like oatmeal have more energy, reduced sugar cravings, lose more weight, and even have more regular bowel movements," Jennifer Stagg, a naturopathic physician, told SheFinds.
Keep in mind that bread described as "whole wheat" or "seven-grain" aren't necessarily healthy; they can still be packed with unhealthy ingredients like "wheat flour" or "unbleached enriched flour." The publication recommends selecting bread with at least four grams of fiber.