Delicious Heirloom Beans  (Photo by Ben Fink)

First you need to understand what I mean by “good carbs”. I’m referring to carbohydrate-containing foods that give your body more that just starch and sugars. Think whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy.

Reason #1 to eat good carbs

Fiber & resistant starch (prebiotics). This is the food for the good bacteria in our gut. Yes, many bacteria are really, really good for us. Certain ones improve our insulin sensitivity which means our blood sugar stays in a healthy range without a lot of insulin. There are other bacteria that determine how many calories we extract from food and make weight control easier. Who doesn’t want more of these guys! Some of the top foods for feeding our gut bacteria:
a. black and red rice, oats, quinoa
b. dried beans and lentils,
c. beets, carrots, jicama, spinach, sauerkraut and kimchi and cruciferous veggies
d. Apples, berries, avocado
e. Almonds and all nuts, chia seeds
f. Yogurt and kefir

Reason #2 to eat good carbs

Whole grains, beans, nuts and dairy have been shown in numerous, well-planned, research studies to reduce our risk for developing type 2 diabetes . Since 1 out 3 adults have prediabetes these foods are really important to include in our diet.

Reason #3 to eat good carbs

Phytochemicals from colorful vegetables, fruits, grains, dried beans, spices and green tea have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on our body. This means better health and better management of the chronic health problems we already have. They also help to increase the number and types of good bacteria in our gut.

Are you convinced yet that these carbs are worth keeping in your diet?

So if you are considering a new diet that tells you to avoid any of these good carb-containing foods, think again. Good carbs in our diet in amounts that stay within a reasonable calorie and carbohydrate total for the day is a good choice.

Sun, Qi et al, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2017
Becerra-Tomas et al, Clinical Nutrition, 2017
Jiang et al, JAMA, 2002
Gijsbers et al, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016