There’s a lot of talk lately about carbs and low-carb diets. These diets are popular among diabetics and those wanting to stay in shape. But it turns out that counting carbs isn’t that easy. When you read a nutrition label, it labels carbohydrates. By then you have to check the dietary fiber—also a carbohydrate. In most cases, however, this fiber is not considered to be a carbohydrate. Let’s try to clear up the confusion.
When counting carbs, it’s important to keep net carbs in mind. These carbohydrates are absorbed by our body quickly and effect our blood sugar, causing it to rise. Too many of these net carbs, often found in foods that have a high percentage of sugar to fat, are stored in our body as fat. This causes our thin body to become more plump over time.
Then there is fiber, which is considered to be a good carbohydrate. This type of carb helps to break food down, making our digestive system run much smoother. Fiber is mostly found in lean meats, fruits and vegetables; at the same time, it can be found in grains and dairy. But, in contrast to net carbs, fiber often helps keep our body’s systems running smoothly and seamlessly.
So why isn’t it counted as a carb? The truth is that it’s actually counted as a calorie. The calories listed on a nutrition label often leave out those carbs attributed to fiber. To equate one gram of fiber carbohydrate, add up one gram of carbohydrate or one protein. This rounds out to around 4 calories, while fat is generally 9 calories per gram. Always add the calories by the serving size on the package. This should give an average amount of how much fiber is actually within the product.
It’s important to note, however, that carbohydrates are a good energy source. It’s better to get your carbohydrates through fiber, such as eating an apple. Your body is going to convert these carbs into fuel, at the currency of 4 calories per gram. This gives you the option to be more active and get more done instead of constantly sitting. You feel less fatigued and more energized.
More over, these fiber-based carbohydrates are often associated with a healthier way of eating. Foods such as whole grain bread and yogurt are going to score lower on the Glycemic Index for fiber. This helps measure food to see how our body is going to relate to it. White sugar and white bread are much higher on the Glycemic Index, putting us more at risk for diabetes. But those foods that are low help our digestive system feel more full when we are eating.
Finally, eating the correct serving size of each food is going to help keep your carb count in check. If a box of cereal says 1 cup serving size, try to stick to this as hard as it is. Doing so is going to allow you to stick to your weight loss and promote healthy eating. Counting carbs is not always easy, but understanding them is half the battle. While fiber may be tricky, it’s considered a good carb and should be thought of as such.
How do carbohydrates impact your health? – Richard J. Wood