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Scared of Carbs?

Conventionally Unconventional with Kinder Fayssoux, MD

Carbohydrates have received such a bad reputation for health and weight loss, but is it all warranted?  

I think it is easy to get caught up in the latest health and weight-loss trends, and because they all seem to contradict one another, it is common to ultimately end up in severe food confusion. 

Almost 95 percent of my patients come in with a food paralysis of sorts — not knowing what they can eat because they have heard that everything is harmful in some way to their health. Carbohydrates, by far, though seem to take the brunt of this fear.

I would like to help set the record straight. Carbohydrates, just like fats and grains, are not wholistically at fault for our chronic disease and national weight problems. Let’s talk about what IS bad about carbs…processing. 

When we process carbs away from their natural form (the way they are found in nature), we take away many of their nutritional qualities and health benefits. So quite simply, anything that is a processed food carb like bread, pasta, crackers, muffins, granola bars, is not going to be the healthiest food choice and in some way will contribute to chronic diseases and weight issues when consumed as the staples in one’s diet.

On the other hand, carbs that come from potatoes, rice and veggies (eaten close to the way they are found in nature) are actually important for satiety, fiber, vitamins and minerals and should be a part of most diets. Historically, these are the foods that most of our ancestors relied on heavily; they are also integral parts of the diets in parts of the world with the highest amount of people living into their nineties and hundreds. The challenge comes in not dousing these foods in oil, butter, sugar, cheese and other not-so-healthy, high-calorie condiments.

For the average person, no one food group should be off-limits as long as it is eaten in a form pretty close to that found in nature. So, don’t waste your fear on carbs that are real food. Use it instead to stay away from processed foods.

Dr. Fayssoux is an integrative primary care practitioner with Ohm & Oot Wellness Medicine in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 469.9900. For more information, visit www.KinderFayssouxMD.com.

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