Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist and volunteer at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic. Prior to joining the Clinic, she served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP).
Carbs-good guy or the enemy? And what are the healthiest carbs to eat?
Carbs -or Carbohydrates – have been given a bad rap, especially if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight. Many weight loss plans severely limit or restrict carbs. People with diabetes need to calculate the amount of carbs they can eat to help manage their blood sugar levels. But all carbs are not the same – and carbs are the number one source of energy for your body!
So what carbs are best for your health? Complex carbs are best. They are found in whole grains (look for 100 percent whole grain on labels), legumes (dried beans), nuts and seeds, and all fruits and vegetables. They take longer to digest, help you feel full longer, and can help keep your blood sugar levels steady level. They keep your cholesterol levels in check, and can help lessen bloating and constipation. And complex carbs are full of nutrients to keep you healthy and can help you lose weight.
Refined carbs are found in sugars and processed grains such as white rice, bread, and anything baked with white flour. Refined carbs have little nutrients, have little or no fiber, and can send your blood glucose levels high – so it’s best to chose complex carbs as often as possible.
Remember: too much of any food or food group can lead to weight gain. If you are trying to eat healthy, lose weight, or have diabetes, talk to a nutritionist or your doctor to find a balanced eating plan, including carbs, that is right for you.
Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016. Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 299 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, James, & Wadmalaw Island or Folly Beach, or serve the Hospitality Industry of Downtown Charleston. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.