Added sugars, or free sugars, is in the simple carbohydrate form, which can provide instant boost of energy. Foods high in sugar are often high in calories, and eating these foods too often can contribute to you becoming overweight.
Starch is a complex carb, found in foods that come from plants. Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day.
Fiber is also a complex carb, found in the cell walls of foods that come from plants. Good sources of fiber include fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta, beans and lentils.
The good news is that both the ARIC and the PURE study found that there appears to be a sweet spot of about 50 percent of energy from carbohydrate, where the risk of dying during the study was lowest. Anything more or less than this was associated with an increased risk of premature death. It seems that moderation is key, not just with carbohydrates but also fat.
To mention few new findings from carbohydrate studies:
Quinoa is highly nutritious. It numerous health benefits include improved blood sugar control. Quinoa is also high in protein and fiber, so it may be useful for weight loss.
Oats contain many beneficial nutrients, including fiber and protein. Oats have been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Buckwheat is highly nutritious and contains more antioxidants and minerals than most grains. Eating buckwheat may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control.
Bananas are high in potassium, which may help regulate blood pressure. Unripe bananas also contain resistant starch and pectin, which can improve digestive health.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of provitamin A (from beta-carotene), as well as several other vitamins and antioxidants.
Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. They contain high amounts of inorganic nitrates, which can improve health and boost physical performance.
Oranges are a good source of fiber. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C and other healthy plant compounds. Eating oranges may benefit heart health and help prevent anemia.
Blueberries are phenomenally healthy. They contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and protect your body from oxidative damage.
Grapefruit contains various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. It may help with weight loss and provide numerous health benefits.
Apples contain a decent amount of vitamin C, antioxidants and plant compounds. Eating apples may improve blood sugar control as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Kidney beans contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cooked kidney beans are also a good source of protein and are linked to several health benefits.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and contain many vitamins and minerals. Eating chickpeas has been linked to benefits for heart and digestive health as well as cancer prevention.
Pumpkins is rich in Vitamin A, iron, and beta-carotene.
Carrots contains antioxidants, which offers many health benefits.
Taro belongs to the starchy root vegetable family and rich in fiber, also provide antioxidants, minerals and zinc.
Mangos are high in Vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.
The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease. The rule of thumb is to select whole foods and avoid processed and refined carbohydrates.
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