Weekend: Not all carbohydrates are created equal

By ANDREW AKHAPHONG
Carbohydrates are misunderstood on whether they are good or bad for your health.
Many individuals often restrict their carbohydrates, as it is viewed as the evildoer of weight gain. This is true to some point as the sweetness we crave causes us to eat more of it.
The majority of our calories come from the carbohydrates we eat. However, it is important to watch our portions and what sources our carbohydrates come from to avoid weight gain.
Carbohydrates are commonly known as sugar. They are the body’s main source of energy.
We get carbohydrates in our diet from plants: fruits, vegetables, beans, rice, and other grains. But, carbohydrates are also in dairy products in a natural sugar known as lactose.
Many packaged foods we buy contain hidden carbohydrates.
Look at the ingredients list on the nutrition label for key words that end in “”ose, such as maltose, sucrose, dextrose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Other hidden perpetrators include honey, agave nectar, molasses and brown rice syrup.
Most carbohydratest come from breads, pasta and baked goods.
It is important to eat products made with whole grains. They contain more fiber, leading to greater fullness and a healthy digestive system. To tell if a product is whole grain, look at the ingredients list on the nutrition label.
If the first ingredient says, whole wheat, whole oats, or even 100 percent whole wheat, then it is surely a whole grain product.
Another identifier is the black and yellow stamp label by the Whole Grains Council that identifies products containing 16 grams or more per serving of whole grains.
Always follow the recommended serving provided on the nutrition label. According to MyPlate guidelines, men and women should consume approximately six-ounce servings of grains daily with three-ounce servings counting towards whole grains.
Now, what about fruit and vegetable juices?
Juices often contain added sugars to make it more palatable for their target consumers: children.
Juices that are labeled 100 percent juice contain natural sugars called fructose and often contain no added sugar. Juices that are labeled, “contains 10 percent juice” or even “contains 20 percent juice” often contain high-fructose corn syrup.
It is always better to serve fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. They contain fiber to increase fullness and slow down the absorption of sugars into your body. Because juices are already available in liquid form, the sugars will absorb more quickly with the lack of fiber in the product.
MyPlate states the recommended serving of fresh fruit and vegetables along with juices is approximately 1.5 cups total for women per day and approximately two cups total for men per day.
For more information, please visit www.choosemyplate.com or contact a registered dietitian.
Akhaphong is a student at Bluffton University and a dietetic intern with Ohio State University in Hancock County.

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