There's a lot of confusion out there on what "good carbs vs. bad carbs" actually means. While programs such as the Atkins Diet and South Beach Diet have popularized the notion that carbohydrates are what makes you fat and must be avoided at all costs, there are actually some carbs that are essential and beneficial. The key is to recognize which foods are good carbs and which are bad carbs.
Bad Carbs: Eating too much of certain carbs can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Easily digested carbohydrates are the bad carbs. An easy way to identify bad carbs is their color. White rice, white bread and white pasta are bad carbs. Highly processed and sugared foods, such as pastries and sodas, are also bad carbs. In sum, the things that most people crave and love to gorge on are usually bad rather than good carbs. While bad carbs do not need to be entirely avoided, your intake of them should be limited.
Good Carbs: Good carbs are essential building blocks for the body. Good carbs provide the energy and proper organ function that we need for a healthy life. Most people should get 40 to 60 percent of their calories from good carbs. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains contain carbohydrates as well as vitamins, fiber and minerals. Bread is a good carbohydrate so long as it is whole grain bread. The same goes for pastas and rice; whole wheat pasta and rice provides a lot more nutrients than their white counterparts, which provide calories without the beneficial vitamins, fiber and minerals. It is best to consume good carbs in their most natural state. For example, eating a whole peach is better than eating canned peaches because canned fruits usually have a lot of sugar.
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