Carbohydrates are not bad for you, it’s important that we get that idea out of the way first. Many people incorrectly believe that all carbs are bad and they have become something of scapegoats in the world of nutrition. That is to say that just as people once blamed fats for just about everything, they now blame carbs for everything.
Carbs are (apparently) partly responsible for any weight gain you might be experiencing. That’s because they can cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a surge of insulin. The result is that the fats are stored because the body doesn’t have any use to burn them.
This spike and then trough can also be bad for your mood, causing a kind of hyper period followed by a period of feeling low, lethargic and tired. Worse, we are told that the sugar found in carbohydrates is actually harmful to us and can cause nerve damage and brain fog, not to mention leading to diabetes and insulin insensitivity.
We used to think that fat was the enemy because it was the most calorific but now we know that it’s not the number of calories that matters but rather where they came from.
Okay, let’s rewind a moment. All that makes some sense in principle, but it is a mistake to think that this means all carbs are bad. In fact, every food group plays important roles in our diet and if you completely eliminate any one, then you are asking for trouble. We know for instance that going completely low carb can actually lead to very low testosterone. We also need carbohydrates for that instant surge of sugar they provide – it can help us to perform our best, improve our mood and prevent us from flagging as the day starts to drag on.
And there are many carbs that are also highly nutritious and good for us in other ways too. Of course one of the biggest examples of this comes in the form of fruits and smoothies which are packed with goodness to support our immune system, brain function and much more.
The problem is not with carbs per say but with our modern diets and the way we eat carbs. For many of us, our diet is far too reliant on carbs. Worse, is that we tend to gravitate toward the ‘bad kind’ of carb: the processed simple carb that provides you with lots of sugar but very little in the way of usable nutrients or sustenance.
With all that in mind, consider this article to be a lesson in mindfulness. Here, you will discover that some of the foods in your diet might just be much larger ‘carb dumps’ than you realize. We’ll be going over 28 foods that are higher in carbohydrates than you might have thought and we’ll also be assessing each one on the basis of its other strengths and weaknesses. So without further ado…
1. Your Morning Coffee
Many of us will rely on a morning coffee to get up and get going in the morning. Hey, I’m not judging! I too am more than slightly partial to my morning mug if I’m going to behave anything like a human being.
And actually caffeine itself has many good qualities. Not only has it been proven consistently to boost mental performance in the short term, but it also appears to be very effective when it comes to reducing the signs of age-related cognitive decline in the long term.
The problem is that your morning coffee may well also come with a massive helping of sugar. This is certainly the case if you have a cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles, or even a chai latte. For these reasons, you may want to reconsider!
2. Soda Drinks
Speaking of drinks that you probably thought were harmless, soda drinks are perhaps the biggest culprits of the lot. The problem with soda drinks is that we tend to think of our food as being the culprit when it comes to carbs, not our drinks.
In fact though, a glass of soda drink can sometimes contain as much sugar as two whole Cream Eggs! It’s pretty mad when you think of it like that, especially when you also bear in mind that this is something in your diet that really has zero nutritional value!
Apples are incredibly good for you and they’re also delicious and convenient. The only problem is that that they actually contain a fairly large amount of sugar and of carbs. Just one apple will net you 27 carbs which is not a small amount.
This is actually more than you would get from a single slice of bread, which is what many of us think of when we start trying to avoid carbs in the first place!
A shame, because apples are a great source of fiber, they’re rich in vitamin C and they also contain the all-important nutrient epicatechin, which does all kinds of miraculous things!
Apples, oranges, kiwi fruit… all these things are well known to be absolutely packed with nutrition that can boost the immune system and help you to feel like a hundred bucks. Thus it only follows that sticking all those things in a blender, whisking and then downing the concoction could only be a great way to boost your health!
The only slight problem? It’s not! Issue here is that smoothies are so rich in sugar and carbs as to be borderline dangerous. In fact, if you switch to a juice diet, then it can actually end up stripping the enamel away from your teeth!
You can get away with one smoothie (and there certainly are other benefits to be had here), but just make sure that you consider the ingredients carefully and monitor those carbs!
5. Chick Peas
There are certain foods that we kind of assume must be healthy. Take chick peas. They tick all the right boxes – they’re peas, they’re a bit weird, they’re cultural.
But unfortunately these aren’t going to go in your hipster bars seeing as they contain a fair amount of carbohydrates. One cup contains 35 grams in fact, so think twice before you dip into that humus!
6. Rye Bread
When you go low carb, one of the first things to go out the window is of course bread. This is doubly the case if you believe all the hype about the evils of wheats etc. Thus, you might find yourself turning to other types of bread that are more complex and that therefore might be less of a threat.
But the reality is that rye bread is not much better than regular bread in terms of its calories and carbs. A slice of rye bread may be nutritious but it’s not going to work if you’re trying to go ketogenic!
7. Low Fat Foods
Nothing illustrates the shifting and fickle advice of the health industry quite like the way that opinions have changed on fats. Once thought to be the root of all evil, fats are now recognized for their benefits when it comes to absorbing nutrients, slowing digestion and more.
And we now realize the folly of consuming low fat foods. These are simply less filling versions of things that you used to eat but with added sugar to make up for the loss of flavor!
8. Brown Pasta
Hey, let’s be healthy tonight – you might say to yourself. Instead of regular pasta, why not have brown pasta?
Sure, it’s a little more nutritious. But if you thought you were somehow sidestepping the carbohydrate problem then think again – brown pasta is not much better off. Interestingly though, if you want to eat a form of pasta with a better GI, one trick that is shown to work is to cook pasta, let it cool and then heat it up again.
This changes the chemical composition and reportedly makes it slower to release its energy! Now you know…
Soups are another thing you might think would be healthy. They’re less filling and satisfying than other meals, heck they’re practically a drink! And on top of that, they’re also full of vegetables.
But not only do those vegetables contain carbs, but so do the added sugars, creams and flavorings that more store-bought soups will add! Read the label!
10. Bircher Cup
A bircher cup looks like the ultimate hipster food. This is essentially a pot filled with granola and fruit that has then had yogurt poured on top of it.
And once again, this is actually healthy in many ways – being an excellent source of healthy bacterial cultures among other things. It’s just a shame that it’s not low carb as well.
There are carbs in the berries and raisins, carbs in the granola and probably carbs in the yogurt too!