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CARBS AREN’T ALL THAT BAD!-by Joyce

I wish I got a dollar for each person who asks me what the best 'carb' is between bread, rice, pasta or potato. My answer? All of the above. Shock horror, because apparently "carbs are so bad!" Right? 

...Wrong.

Too much of ANYTHING *can be* ''bad'' - eating 50 pieces of fruit a day is bad, eating 3 bags of carrots a day is bad - and eating too much pasta a day is bad. One particular food should not be targeted at any time. I emphasise, again and again, a moderate diet including vegetables, fruit, grains, meat and dairy is needed for optimal health. Eat bread, but not a whole loaf; Eat pasta, but not 10 bowls of it; Eat chocolate, but not the whole block.

Moderation is key, and I cannot emphasise that enough. As long as your OVERALL diet is balanced, then not one food should be 'the bad guy'.

In terms of foods making you 'fat'... Basically, no food "makes you fat", if it's eaten in the right way. And that goes for any carbohydrate food too. Any scietific study showing that "carbohydrates are not fattening" were conducted on people who did not follow specific diets for illnesses/diseases, who ate Mediterranean diets (mainly fish, legumes, veg & olive oil - and very LITTLE meat), and eat carbohydrates (like wholegrains, pasta, starchy vegetables) in moderate amounts (so, NOT 3 bowls of pasta carbonara in one sitting). 

The issue is that most of us eat too much, along with eating too many processed foods (processed bread, cakes, baked goods, biscuits, take-away meals). And THAT is what needs to change. If you want the same results as the people in the "carbohydrates are not fattening" studies, then you need to substantially up your vegetable, legume and fish intake, while having carbohydrates in moderation within a healthy, balanced meal (1/2 of your plate made of non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 of your plate made from meat or meat alternatives, and the other 1/4 from starches).

Some "carb-dense" foods, like whole grains, are actually quite an important part of a healthy diet. Eating at least three servings of whole grains per day (one serving is one-half cup of cooked grains like oats or brown rice, or one slice of grainy bread) can reduce the risk of some chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancers! 👍
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Over the years, we have seen a movement away from wheat grains (pasta, bread, cereals) and more into other grains, like quinoa. Quinoa has become a very popular grain (technically a seed), but just because it’s claimed as a “superfood”, doesn’t mean we should just stick to eating it all day every day. We know that variety in our diet is key, so it’s important to think of other ways we can get our healthy, grainy carbs in.
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The following grains have the same benefits (if not more) than quinoa, and you should give them a try!

Amaranth... Full of fibre and a great source of the amino acid lysine and nutrients magnesium, calcium, and squalene, a compound that may help prevent cancer. This grain can be used to make polenta, porridge, pudding or granola!
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Teff... High in calcium (one cup contains 35 percent of the daily recommended value) and vitamin C. Teff is an awesome source of resistant starch, which can help prevent colon cancer. Teff is widely available nowadays and is so yummy in pancake mixes.
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Buckwheat... My favourite grain! Its name leads people to think it's a type of wheat, but it is technically a 'herb' and it is completely gluten-free. You can eat buckwheat raw or cooked, and its benefits include lowering the risks of cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. I like to sprinkle a spoonful on my oats or muesli in the morning, or on salad! 😋


Carbs are and will never be the only concern. All we need to be worrying about is the quality of our food & how much we're eating of it in one sitting.

Eat a variety of food. Eat all this food in moderation. Make sure you move every day. And your body won't fail to thank you for it.

Joyce's bio: Joyce Haddad, Director of A Dietitian's Mission (www.adietitiansmission.com), is an Australian based Dietitian, Nutritionist, Scientist and Master Personal Trainer with a passion for health and wellbeing. Joyce aims to help the public make informed and realistic nutritional choices and ensure everyone has a healthy relationship with their body and with food.

Pictured: Joyce's buckwheat cookies recipe, which can be found on her Instragram page.

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