There are three main types of carbohydrates in food, namely:
• Starches (also known as complex carbohydrates)
You'll also hear terms like naturally occurring sugar, added sugar, low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols, reduced-calorie sweeteners, processed grains, enriched grains, complex carbohydrate, sweets, refined grains and whole grains. No wonder how knowing what kind and how much carbohydrate to eat is confusing!
A number on the nutrition label under 'total carbohydrate' is what you must pay attention to when counting carbs. It includes all 3 types of carbohydrates.
Foods high in starch include:
• Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, lima beans and potatoes
• Dried beans, lentils and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas and split peas
• Grains like oats, barley and rice. (The majority of grain products are made from wheat flour. These include pasta, bread and crackers but the variety is expanding to include other grains as well.)
The grain group can be broken down even further into whole grain or refined grain.
A grain contains three parts:
• bran- it is the outer hard shell of the grain. It is the part of the grain that provides the most fiber and most of the B vitamins and minerals.
• germ- it is the next layer and is packed with nutrients including essential fatty acids and vitamin E
• endosperm- it is the soft part in the center of the grain. It contains the starch.
Whole grain means that the entire grain kernel is in the food. If you eat a whole grain food, it contains the bran, germ, and endosperm so you get all of the nutrients that whole grains have to offer. If you eat a refined grain food, it contains only the endosperm or the starchy part so you miss out on a lot of vitamins and minerals. Because whole grains contain the entire grain, they are much more nutritious than refined grains.
Sugar is another type of carbohydrate. You may also hear sugar referred to as simple or fast-acting carbohydrate.
There are two main types of sugar:
• naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk or fruit
• added sugars such as those added during processing such as fruit canned in heavy syrup or sugar added to make a cookie
On the nutrition facts label, the number of sugar grams includes both added and natural sugars. Sugar is given various names like table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, beet sugar, cane sugar, confectioner's sugar, powdered sugar, raw sugar, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar and sugar cane syrup. You may also see table sugar listed by its chemical name, sucrose. Fruit sugar is also known as fructose and the sugar in milk is called lactose. You can recognize other sugars on labels because their chemical names also end in "-ose." For example glucose (also called dextrose), fructose (also called levulose), lactose and maltose.
Fiber comes from plant foods so there is no fiber in animal products such as milk, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.It is the indigestible part of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. When you consume dietary fiber, most of it passes through the intestines and is not digested.
For good health, adults need to try to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Most of us do not consume nearly enough fiber in our diet, so while it is wise to aim for this goal, any increase in fiber in your diet can be beneficial. Most of us only get about half of what is recommended. Fiber contributes to digestive health, helps to keep you regular, and helps to make you feel full and satisfied after eating. Some suggest fibres as they help in cholestrol control.
Good sources of dietary fiber include:
• Beans and legumes. Think black beans, kidney beans, chick peas , white beans, and lentils.
• Fruits and vegetables, especially those with edible skin (for example, apples, corn and beans) and those with edible seeds (for example, berries).
• Whole grains such as:
o Whole wheat pasta
o Whole grain cereals (Look for those with three grams of dietary fiber or more per serving, including those made from whole wheat, wheat bran, and oats.)
o Whole grain breads (To be a good source of fiber, one slice of bread should have at least three grams of fiber. Another good indication: look for breads where the first ingredient is a whole grain. For example, whole wheat or oats.) Many grain products now have "double fiber" with extra fiber added.
• Nuts — try different kinds. Peanuts, walnuts and almonds are a good source of fiber and healthy fat, but watch portion sizes, because they also contain a lot of calories in a small amount.
In general, an excellent source of fiber contains five grams or more per serving, while a good source of fiber contains 2.5 - 4.9 grams per serving.
It is best to get your fiber from food rather than taking a supplement.The abovementioned foods have many more nutrients than fiber alone! If you sought to increase fiber intake, make sure it's gradual, so as to prevent stomach irritation, and increase your intake of water and other liquids to prevent constipation.
There are three main types of carbohydrates in food, namely: • Starches (also known as complex carbohydrates) • Sugars • Fiber You'll also hear terms like naturally occurring sugar, added sugar, low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols, reduced-calorie sweeteners, processed grains, enriched grains, complex carbohydrate, sweets, refined grains and whole grains. No wonder how knowing what kind and...