Good Carb, Bad Carb? 3 Foods To Eat, 3 To Avoid

Recent studies have suggested a low-carb diet may not be the healthiest path to take after all. It is preferable to follow a diet that includes carbs not only in moderation but also from the right sources. Here are three sources to include in your diet and three to avoid.

1. Include: Potato

Despite having a reputation of being fattening and unhealthy, potatoes are perfectly fine to include as a part of your diet as long as they are in moderation and are prepared in the right way. 

Dietitians say the best method is to simply bake or roast them and eat the potatoes along with the skin. A large portion of the fiber content comes from the skin while the rest of the vegetable can provide a good dose of vitamin C, potassium and even protein.

2. Avoid: Refined Grains

Unlike whole grains, refined varieties (such as white rice or white pasta) undergo a lot of modifications when they are processed. Most notably, they lose their outer shells of bran and germ i.e. the parts which carry a lot of their fiber content.

"It’s throwing out the good stuff and making a quickly digested carbohydrate that’s going to spike your blood sugar," said Toronto-based registered dietitian Abby Langer.

3. Include: Pulses

According to registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, pulses are "excellent sources of healthy, slow-digesting carbs" to include in your diet. Whether it's peas, lentils, or beans, they pack a nutritious punch which includes fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Vegetarians and vegans can significantly benefit from eating more pulses as they provide a large amount of protein. Thus, they can compensate for the lack of animal proteins in their diets.

4. Avoid: Fruit Juice

Fruit juice does provide you with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. But it's also high in sugar, high in carbs, and very low in fiber content compared to its whole fruit counterpart.

"A 12-ounce cup of unsweetened apple juice contains about 48 grams of carbs, which many people may not expect since it's a liquid!" said Chicago-based registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk. "And that's for an unsweetened version."

5. Include: Butternut Squash

Squash is associated with a variety of health benefits such as improved digestion, healthy skin and hair, regulated blood pressure, and more. While the carotenoids have a protective effect by fighting against diseases, the high levels of vitamin E can promote healthier skin.

One cup of cubed butternut squash provides around 22 grams of carbs with more than six of them counting as fiber. The same cup can provide 582 mg of potassium, which is even higher than what is offered by a banana.

6. Avoid: Sugary protein bars

While proteins bars are well-suited for athletes who require post-workout snacks, it is important to choose the right kind. Many brands load their bars with excessive fat and sugar content.

"Oftentimes, protein bars are loaded with hard-to-pronounce ingredients," stated Jill Merkel, a registered dietitian who focuses on sports performance. "The fewer ingredients, the better."