Weatherford Democrat

Extension News

May 31, 2014

EXTENSION NEWS: Some carbohydrate choices are better than others

WEATHERFORD —

For many people, cutting and reducing the amount of carbohydrates is necessary because of having diabetes, being pre-diabetes or having high triglycerides. When you look at the nutrition facts labels on many of your favorite foods, you may be surprised how many carbs they have and wonder how you can fit your favorite foods into a lower-carb diet.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, with 10 to 35 percent from protein and 20 to 35 percent from fat. To do the math, you need to know that carbohydrates and protein each have four calories per gram and fat has nine calories per gram. So, if you are eating 1,800 calories a day, and want to trim carbohydrates to 45 percent of your diet, you can still have 200 grams or about 800 calories a day of carbohydrates.

Instead of trimming all sources of carbohydrates, nutrition experts recommend consumers focus on cutting way back on added sugars and refined grains, including products made from white flour instead of whole wheat or other whole grains. Carbohydrates found naturally in foods such as beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy are generally considered to be healthy. They provide important nutrients and often lots of fiber.

A half-cup of black beans has about 26 grams of carbohydrates, with six or more of those grams as fiber. Because the human body cannot digest fiber, it doesn’t contribute to increasing blood sugar. Most dietitians recommend that when eating a high-fiber food – one with five grams of fiber or more, you should subtract the fiber grams from the total carbohydrate count. In the case of black beans, you would subtract six grams of fiber from 23 grams of total carbohydrates, for a final carbohydrate count of 17 grams. 

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