Low-carb Doesn’t Mean No-carb

What I am writing to share with readers today is based on my own experiences with the various doctors and nutritionists I have worked with for my own heath needs. I have also done quite a bit of research into food alternatives to help me maintain my health. Not all of this information will have bearing on your personal dietary requirements, but it is my hope to put some of the mystery into layman’s terms to help those who in similar positions to my own.

Low-carb does not mean no-carb. Carbohydrates are a building block of the body, but American cuisine has seemingly gone overboard with carb heavy foods like white potatoes, high fructose corn syrup, and refined flour products. It’s not that these things are bad in and of themselves, but they they are overconsumed, lending to the high rates of obesity and diabetes in America.

Be aware of the carbs you choose. Whole foods such as yams, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are all good sources of carbohydrates. They can assist in controlling blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and keeping glucose under control.

Flavoring your dishes with fresh or dried herbs and spices can also add a healthy boost to your food. Rather than using chemical enhancements, try ground cinnamon or clove, zested citrus peel, even banana or applesauce to add flavors to sweet dishes. Likewise, for savory dishes there are a wide range of spices and herbs available. Green, leafy herbs such as oregano, rosemary and sage offer additional mineral and vitamin boosts to your cooking.

Opting for whole wheat or multi-grain alternatives to regular pastas and breads may give you a different texture than you are used to, but it will also offer you lower crabs and higher fiber intake.

Nuts and seeds are a great way to boost flagging energy levels. Many varieties improve arteries, lower LDL cholesterol, and are loaded with protein, heart-healthy fats and other beneficial nutrients. A serving is about one ounce – roughly the amount that fits on the palm of your hand in a single layer. Be careful not to over indulge as they are calorie-dense.

Keep in mind, when you are looking at the nutrition panel on a snack to check both the carbohydrates and the dietary fiber numbers. Subtract the amount of dietary fiber from the number of carbs to get a better idea of what your working carb intake will be from consuming the item.

The term ‘gluten-free’ is another label that might fool the unwary carb-counter. It’s surprising to see that the carb levels in gluten-free foods are close to the counts in ‘regular’ foods, and in many cases higher. Keep an eye on these numbers when you are making choices for your individual dietary needs.

In general, try to be aware of what you are putting into your body,a dn how it may help or hurt your personal well being.

— Ann Cathey

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