Understanding Carbohydrates – Let’s Take Away The Confusion

I encourage women to look at carbohydrates in three categories: slower acting, intermediate acting and fast acting. Below is a simple chart which may help you in making good carb choices:

Slower Acting Intermediate Acting Fast Acting
Whole Grains White potatoes Juice
Milk Carrots White pasta
Nuts Beets Cookies
Quinoa Sweet Potatoes Cakes
Whole brown rice Fruits Sugary cereals
Millet Winter squash Alcohol

I encourage women to follow an 85-15 guideline when it comes to their nutritional intake. Focus on healthy eating 85% of the time – if you choose to indulge or splurge the rest of the time – enjoy! I talk with my patients about some helpful and easy tips to prevent the carb crash which many women experience when eating too many sweets.

  • Choose sweets that contain nuts and whole grains – many of these will be flourless! These delicious treats pair the sweetness with protein effortlessly.
  • When choosing chocolate, choose the darkest possible!  Dark chocolate contains less sugar and provides a good dose of antioxidants.
  • Balance your sweet choice with some protein!  Have a piece of cheese or some nuts when enjoying a slice of your favorite cake.
  • Have a large glass of water with your treat!  Surprisingly, quenching your thirst be very satisfying and may help your calm your cravings.
  • When enjoying a treat – take the time to really enjoy it. Enjoy the taste, the texture, the scent – we’re much more likely to be satisfied when we slow down and can really enjoy our food.
  • If you know you are insulin resistant, choose wisely. For you, a little sugar goes a long way!

As you make choices about your food intake, remember that your body needs carbohydrates for a well-balanced diet. The type of carbohydrates you choose is important! Choosing nutrient rich complex carbs will help you avoid the difficult cycle of cravings, insulin spikes and crashes. Striving for balance with carbohydrates has great benefit in your day to day energy, clear thinking, vitality and weight management.