Remember, carbs aren’t all bad
Are carbs good for you? If you’re shaking your head, you’re falling for the biggest weight loss myth out there, and it needs to be addressed: Carbs are not the enemy, despite what you’ve read, heard, or seen on social media. There’s a difference between quality carbohydrates (they provide fiber and nutrients) and empty carbs (high in sugar, low in nutrition). “Higher carbohydrate foods are maligned because people tend to use short-sighted ways of evaluating these foods and are often evaluated by individuals who are uninformed or not professionally licensed,” explains Lisa Cohn, registered dietitian and consultant for miVIP Surgery Centers. “These trends are often based on misinformation and recommendations made that aim to sell products.”
Nutritionist Meg Hagar, MS, RD, believes recent findings may be to blame for carb fear: “One reason certain types of carbohydrates get a bad rep may be because of the glycemic index, a measurement of how certain foods effect our blood sugar after we consume them,” says Hagar. “Consistently elevated or abnormal spikes in blood sugar may eventually lead to diabetes and are linked with other metabolic disorders (metabolic syndrome, inability to manage body weight, etc.) and therefore people who are at risk may be told to avoid or limit these foods. However, healthy people not at risk should not be afraid of these foods! Eating a variety of foods is one of the best ways to avoid nutrient deficiencies and achieve optimal health.”
Bananas may be high in carbs and sugar, but don’t ban them from your fruit bowl. This perfectly portable fruit is a great source of vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, and fiber. “Fruits are a vital source of phytonutrients and antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibers and varying amounts of sugars,” says Cohn. “Plantains, grapes, pineapple, and bananas tend to be higher in sugars relative to portion size and thus can get a bad reputation, but still contain many important nutrients.” The low sodium and high potassium content of bananas makes them perfect for people with high blood pressure, and might even help you sleep! They contain tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin, a brain chemical that helps you relax, improves your mood, and makes you fall asleep more easily.