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To carb or not to carb?

Compiled by Nutritionist Susie Burrell

To carb or not to carb – some 10 years on it appears that for many health conscious peeps, this remains the question. Carbs are full of gluten; they make me feel bloated and you need to cut back on carbs to lose weight are just some of the reasons we may choose to get rid of the carbs, all carbs good or bad. So here are most common myths about carbs and how you can get the good carbs you need in your life, and the nutrition they offer, in the right amounts.

Myth
All carbs are bad

Truth
There are so many carb based foods including legumes, fruit, fibre rich vegetables and wholegrains that are good for us and that we actually need in our diet to ensure we get the nutrients we need for our body to function efficiently, it is all about the type and amount of carbs we choose. Sure, a giant glass of juice or packet of lollies is not the smartest way to get your carbs but if you focus on natural plant carbs, and controlled portions of wholegrain bread such as Helga’s Lower Carb and cereals and grains such as quinoa and oats, you will not go wrong.

Myth
You need to cut carbs to lose weight

Truth
It really depends on how much you move as while cutting out the carbs helps to lower your total calorie intake, if you are active and exercise regularly, the body actually needs a certain amount of carbs to allow fat to be burnt. So rather than throwing the fat loss baby out with the bathwater, it is not about cutting all carbs rather, balancing the carbs you need with your exercise. For some people this may mean keeping their carbs lighter during the second half of the day, while for others, who may train later in the day, they may still need a little carbs at dinner to help control appetite and support fat loss.

Myth
Carbs make you bloated

Truth
There is a certain number of people who may prefer to eat gluten free, or for whom wheat and gluten may appear to cause bloating but this is not the case for everyone. Bloating can be caused by a range of things including high salt food, the menstrual cycle and beans and some vegetables so be sure to consult a dietitian before you take all carbs out of your diet.

Myth
Grains are the enemy

Truth
Whoelgrains are extremely nutrient rich, offering fibre, Vitamin E, antioxidants, magnesium, iron and zinc to our diets. Refined grains including white flour, white rice and the carbs found in snack food offer little nutritionally but there is only good to be gained from including wholegrains in the diet on a daily basis for most people. Good choices include quinoa, oats or wholegrains found in breads including the Helga’s Lower Carb range.

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