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Are You Eating the Wrong Carbs?

Not all carbohydrates are created equal: some provide healthy nutrients, while others are more likely to simply raise your blood sugar levels. Find out what the healthiest carb choices are to add to your diet.

Looking for healthier, less-refined carb choices? These carbohydrates are minimally processed foods that are digested more slowly than refined carbs, and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They do not typically cause rapid blood sugar spikes and should be the focus of your carbohydrate intake. Common examples include:

1. Whole grains (such as dense whole grain bread, and intact whole grains such as basmati rice, barley and quinoa)

2. Beans

3. Nuts

4.Vegetables and fruits

Add them to your grocery list and shopping cart for a healthier diet!

White Rice or Brown Rice: The Healthier Choice

Want to get more fiber and nutrients out of your rice choice? Find out which one you should pick next time you grocery shop!

Wheat remains one of the primary staple grains in the United States, and the glycemic load of processed wheat is a likely contributor to America's obesity epidemic. Rice-based diets have been used historically to address a number of medical conditions, and have gained some popularity as a means to help lose weight.

The health benefits of unpolished, brown rice outweigh those of white rice, as its whole grain provides more fiber, iron, B vitamins and other nutrients. (There are 1.5 grams of fiber per half cup of brown rice - almost three times the fiber in the same amount of white rice.) So next time you are making a rice dish, opt for brown - your body will thank you!

What is a True Whole Grain? (Video)

Don't be fooled by "whole-grain" products such as whole wheat flour (or bread made from it), which have a glycemic index nearly as high as that of refined flour. Grains that have been pulverized into flour, whether "whole" or not, have a significantly expanded starchy surface area available to digestive enzymes, and cause blood sugar levels to spike dramatically. A serving of true whole grains - embellished or plain - makes a healthy side for almost any meal, but they are also wonderful in soups, stews, salads and stuffings.

Whole grains - full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and low-glycemic carbohydrates - are an important part of the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.

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Dr. Weil Recommends: The Healthiest Carb

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced, healthful diet. Instead of simply shunning carbs in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight, learn to make the right choices. Start by avoiding the more-refined carbohydrates, which rapidly convert into blood sugar, causing corresponding rises and falls in insulin levels, which can lead to overeating, weight gain and insulin resistance. Examples of refined carbohydrates include foods made principally of flour and sugar, sweetened (and particularly low-fat) dairy products, most snack foods and baked goods, and soft drinks. The latter is perhaps the worst - resolving to stop drinking sweetened beverages of any kind, including fruit juice is among the best moves you can make for health.

Instead, focus on healthy carbs such as those found in true whole grains. These minimally processed foods are digested more slowly than are refined carbs, and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Dr. Weil defines true whole grains as those typically served with the grain intact or in large pieces - examples include barley, quinoa, basmati rice, bulgur wheat and millet. The body metabolizes large, intact grains more slowly, preventing blood sugar "spikes" that are followed by "lows." The result is a steady, productive energy that propels you through the day.

If whole grains seem intimidating to cook, don’t fear - check out this article on cooking with whole grains, where you can learn how to cook a variety of whole grains, from amaranth to wild rice!