The Real On Dieting, Carbs & Sugars

pancakes with strawberriesBump what ya heard about carbohydrates and sugars. While many fad diets frown on these food groups, 2008 Fitness Olympian Laticia “Action” Jackson and author of Eat Great, Look Great, Feel Great, argues that no matter your weight loss regimen, carbs and sugars are a must.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 7 Good Things That Will Happen To Your Body When You Eat More Fiber

“Carbs and sugars often get a bad rap. But the reality is, both are pretty much in everything: milk, fruit, certain fibers. So, to say they are bad and you should avoid them is wrong.” In fact, “your body needs carbohydrates to function,” Jackson continued.

Now, don’t get it twisted. That doesn’t mean you should gulp down a 2-liter of soda in one sitting or help yourself to that extra slice of strawberry cheesecake for desert. There are levels to understanding how to choose healthy carbohydrates and sugar’s. Here’s how…

There are three main types of carbohydrates:

Sugar – is the simplest form of carbohydrate. In fact, it appears naturally in many of our favorite foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Sugars include fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose) and milk sugar (lactose).

Starch -is a complex carbohydrate — meaning it is made of many sugar (glucose) units bonded together. Starch occurs naturally in popular foods like grains, legumes and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash and sweet potatoes.

Fiber – Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate. Fiber happens naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.

Note, that several items listed above, such as grains, milk products, fruit and veggies are all part of a balanced diet. So, how does one make a healthy choice when reaching for a snack? “Reach for something with whole grains or fiber. Also, opt for natural sources of sugar over added sugars. Things like honey, agave, and high fructose corn syrup have zero nutritional value,” said Jackson.