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What's the deal on carbs?

I was told by my doctor I needed to cut back on the carbs.

What foods don't have carbs? Which ones have good or bad carbs?


Wed. Jan 30, 11:39am

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hi there.

i have been very sucessful on atkins--it's a major part of my eating plan since i am allergic to gluten.

tend to stick to lean meats, fruits and veggies. stay clear of pastas, breads, potatoes, pastries, etc.

I still eat my fruits and veggies without regard to carbs because they are very healthy carbs and provide essential nutrients.

i'd love to give you some quick, easy recipes for low carb dishes if you're interested.

good luck to you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 11:48 AM

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How strange...doctors generally don't subscribe to the anti-carb fad. That's kind of scary.

There are good carbs and bad carbs (again, I'm surprised the doc didn't explain this)...

Fruit, vegetables, high-fiber grains and starches = good carbs because they're full of nutrition and don't spike your blood sugar, making you hungry again an hour later.

Things with hardly any fiber and vitamins (everything from the bakery, white bread/rice/pasta but potatoes are okay) should be kept to a minimum because they're nutritionally empty and create a cycle of hunger. I still eat these things, but in moderation and I make sure that what I eat them with counteracts the backlash hunger, e.g. beans with my rice, plenty of vegetables and protein with my pasta.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 12:27 PM

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11:48 checking in

my doctor told me to go low carb, too, because of my triglyceride levels. The rest of my cholosterol is perfect, but apparently too many carbs makes the triglycerides (sorry if i spelled that wrong) raise quite a bit. she also said triglycerides are what makes up belly fat. i have noticed my booda belly going down more than the rest of my body.

I also work for an R.E. and he recommends low carb diets for infertility patients who need to lower their BMI in a hurry to go through treatment.

by the way, thanks for reminding me about beans--i forget how healthy they can be :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 12:54 PM

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Of course I'm not doctor, but what I think he/she means is that you need to cut back on simple carbs, such as white flour/rice/bread/pasta/baked goods and excess sugar in your diet. So, eat whole grains such as whole grain bread, pasta, rice etc. and produce.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 12:59 PM

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I'm surprised your doc didn't direct you to the whole Glycemic Index phenomenon - it strikes me as one of the few smart "diet" ideas to come out in the past 5 years or so. It's meant to help you make better choices for your weight, blood sugar, etc. My only issue with the GI concept is the way it turns bananas into the antichrist of the produce world when it has so much to offer.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 1:39 PM

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i totally agree with you on the bananas. i commented earlier on eating fruits and veggies and i don't look at the carb or calorie content of them because they are so beneficial (not to mention tasty!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 2:26 PM

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aaah, the anti-atkins people drive me nuts...

Ok, yes, lowering carb count can absolutely help lower triglycerides sometimes more than cutting out the alledged offenders like meat and fat.

Even some "complex carbs" really don't do you that much good. Whole grain bread? Sooooooo not necessary. You don't need bread. All this hoopla and garbage about needing "whole grains"? Puh-lease!!! I know several people who don't eat ANY grains and have fantastic health.

The thing to keep in mind is you do need fibre. However, veggies and fruits can do just fine. Or flax. Do a search here for flax related threads- there's one with a great grain free (flax is a seed) bread that is high in fibre low in carb that is pretty amazing. (The site the recipe is on also links to a great flax muffin recipe)

If your doc told you to cut back on your carbs (which is a SMART thing to do!!!) Don't go near white potatoes. Try sweet potatoes instead. Or other root veggies like turnips, rutabaga, parsnips etc. I'd even have carrots only in small doses.

So, to properly address your questions: good carbs are ones that come from leafy veggies and some starchy ones. (I wouldn't have a starchy veg more than once a day) and some fruits. Usually berries are better fruits as they're lower on the GI scale, but apples have fibre and can have their place. Mangoes, papay, guava, aren't too bad.

Any grain product will have carbs. However, as mentioned, they're not necessary in your diet. If you are going to have carbs, stick to whole grain/brown ones. Quinoa, Amaranth, barley, Millet, are all better options than rice. When having carbs, try to keep the fibre content high. Rye crackers (esp finncrisp) can be great.

And sugar is of course the classic bad carb. Try not to have anything where sugar is added. And regardless of how "healthy" something appears, if it is high in sugar, even natural sugar, avoid it. You can likely get those nutrients/healthy benefits from something with less sugar.

Look into lowcarb or low GI diets online.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 8:10 PM

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12:59 here

You do need whole grains. It has so many benefits including lowering one's risk of heart disease.

Read this:

And carrots in small doses? Are you kidding me? I don't see anything wrong with eating carrots.

Avoid natural sugars? So avoid fruit?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 8:58 PM

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Does any diet that cuts out nearly all fruits and half the vegetable world sound like a smart idea?

Does any diet that cuts out whole wheat bread, potatoes, etc sound practical and sustainable? As for flax...oh yummm. All the kids are craving it. NOT.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 9:12 PM

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South Beach

I have had good success with the South Beach diet. It limits simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. It focuses on complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. I have maintained my weight loss for over 4 years. My triglyceride levels have decreased and I have lost 2 1/2 inches in my waist. My husband is a diabetic and his blood sugars have decreased on South Beach as well.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 9:34 AM

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every diet is a plan that combines a different food intake with an increase in your activity. bottom line generally consume less calories and expend more. people have proven to change their lives and their weight this way for years.

i do not believe there is a magic diet that is healthy for everyone.

if your dr. suggests a low carb diet, he/she believes based on your health indicators that this would improve your current condition.

i have followed atkins for 1 1/2 years. i have lost 62 lbs, and am 5 lbs from my goal weight. this works for me, fits my personal taste in food and has solved many of my previous health issues. i had unknown food allergies that came to light with the atkins regiment. my cholesteral and triglicerides were all border line high. my blood work now has my dr. ready to put me on a poster.

if your dr. suggests low carb diet to improve your health atkins and south beach are diets that count carbs specifically. even if you just buy some books, they each have a carb counting chapter that will help you understand good/bad carbs. you need to find what works best for you.

thinking about carb intake instead of fat or calories is a totally different diet phylosophy. the idea is to pick nutrient dense carbs instead of empty ones that give you temporary energy without nutritional value.

maybe your dr. could suggest a nutritionist to work with you to develop a food plan you can live with.

best of luck.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:07 PM

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Obesity in our children is a major health issue. I personally do not care for flax, but something is wrong with the way Americans eat and sit on their butts too much.

Flaxmeal is a grain item high in omega 3 and fiber. It is a great alternative for people who need to cut wheat and gluten.

And yes, you can sustain and be healthy without whole wheat and potatoes! There are other foods in the world!

But then you would have to give up your trips to Mcdonalds for fries! Too bad, so sad!

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:17 PM

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I would trust my doctor over some person on the internet. Definitely.

The doc told him to cut back on his carbs. Not to eliminate them. That's a pretty healthy suggestion.

Low carb diets still allow for a healthy amount of fruit and veg. I know people who eat low carb and eat more fruit and veg than most of the people I know.

And cutting back on fruits high in sugar? Nothing wrong with that. Natural sugar, is still sugar, can still spike blood sugar, is still carbohydrate, and when trying to cut back on carbs, should still be limited.

Starches aren't great, and they will spike your blood sugar.

If you don't like flax, so what? Maybe you just don't know how to use it. I eat a flax bread all the time and love the taste, and I make flax muffins that I love so much I have a hard time stopping at just one a day. Oh, and my neices love the muffins too...

And I've lived the last two years without whole wheat bread. I have potatoes maybe once a month. Usually at a restaurant. has been a great resource as I've been trying to be more conscious of carbs and even out my sugars. (With some FANTASTIC recipes- but I always use agave instead of artificial sweetener)

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:53 PM

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Thanks for the great website! I eat low carb and continue with my fruits and veggies, just don't eat potatoes, breads, pasta, and rice very often at all.

and yes, i've heard high triglycerides cause belly fat, too.

Friday, February 01, 2008, 9:33 AM

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