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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs — How to Make the Right Choices

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The amount of carbohydrates we should be consuming is a much debated topic.

The dietary guidelines suggest that we get about half of our calories from carbohydrates.

On the other hand, some claim that carbohydrates can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes and that most people should avoid them.

There are good arguments on both sides, but our bodies need carbohydrates to function well.

This article goes into detail about carbohydrates, their health effects, and how to make the best choices for yourself.

Carbohydrates, or carbohydrates, are molecules with atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

In nutrition, “carbohydrates” refers to one of the three macronutrients. The other two are protein and fat.

Dietary carbohydrates can be divided into three main categories:

  • Sugar. These are sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.
  • Strengthen. These are long chains of glucose molecules that are eventually broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
  • Fiber. Humans cannot digest fiber, but the bacteria in the digestive system can use some of it. Also, eating fiber is vital to your overall health.

One of the primary purposes of carbohydrates in our diet is to provide energy to our bodies.

Most of the carbohydrates are broken down or converted into glucose, which can be used as energy. Carbohydrates can also be converted into fat (stored energy) for later use.

Fiber is an exception. It doesn’t provide energy directly, but it does feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system. These bacteria can use the fiber to produce fatty acids that some of our cells can use for energy.

Sugar alcohols are also classified as carbohydrates. They taste sweet but usually aren’t high in calories.

Summary

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients. The main types of carbohydrates in food are sugar, starch, and fiber.

“Whole” vs. “Refined” carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are created equal.

There are many different types of carbohydrate foods that can vary in their health effects.

Carbohydrates are sometimes referred to as “simple” versus “complex” or “whole” versus “refined”.

Whole carbohydrates are unprocessed and contain the fiber found naturally in the diet, while refined carbohydrates have been processed and the natural fiber has been removed or altered.

Examples of whole carbohydrates are:

  • vegetables
  • Andean millet
  • just
  • legumes
  • Potatoes
  • full grain

On the other hand, refined carbohydrates include:

  • sugar-sweetened drinks
  • White bread
  • Pastries
  • other items made from white flour

Numerous studies show that consumption of refined carbohydrates is linked to health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (1, 2, 3).

Refined carbohydrates tend to drive blood sugar levels up, leading to a subsequent crash that can induce hunger pangs and lead to food cravings (4, 5).

In addition, they usually lack important nutrients. In other words, they are “empty” calories.

There are also added sugars that should be limited as they have been linked to all sorts of chronic diseases (6, 7, 8, 9).

However, not all carbohydrate foods should be demonized because of the negative health effects of processed products.

Whole carbohydrate sources are loaded with nutrients and fiber and don’t cause the same spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.

Numerous studies of high-fiber carbohydrates, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, show that consumption is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of disease (10, 11, 12, 13, 14).

Summary

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Refined carbohydrates have been linked to obesity and metabolic disorders, but unprocessed carbohydrates have many health benefits.

No discussion of carbohydrates is complete without mentioning low-carbohydrate diets.

These types of diets limit carbohydrates while allowing plenty of protein and fat.

Although there are studies showing that a low-carb diet can help you lose weight, they usually focus on people with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and / or type 2 diabetes.

Some of these studies show that a low-carb diet can promote weight loss and lead to improvements in various health markers, including HDL “good” cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and others compared to the standard “low-fat” diet (15, 16, 17, 18, 19 ).

However, a review of more than 1,000 studies found that low-carbohydrate diets produced positive results in less than and after 6–11 months, but after 2 years there was no significant effect on cardiovascular risk factors (20).

In addition, a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1999-2010 that analyzed low-carbohydrate diets and the risk of death found that those who consumed the least amount of carbohydrates were prone to die prematurely from all causes, including Stroke, cancer, and coronary artery disease (21, 22, 23).

Summary

Just because low-carbohydrate diets can be beneficial for weight loss for some people, they are not the answer for everyone.

“Carbohydrates” are not the cause of obesity

Although limiting carbohydrates can lead to weight loss, it does not mean that the consumption of carbohydrates in itself caused the weight gain.

This is actually a myth that has been debunked.

While it’s true that added sugars and refined carbohydrates are linked to an increased risk of obesity, the same is not true of high-fiber, whole-carbohydrate sources.

In fact, people have been eating carbohydrates in some form for thousands of years.

But the rate of obesity development began to rise since the mid-20th century, increasing around 1980 when 4.8 percent of men and 7.9 percent of women were obese.

Today our numbers have grown exponentially and 42.4 percent of adults are obese (24).

It is also worth noting that some populations have maintained excellent health while eating a high-carbohydrate diet.

The Okinawa population and Kitavan islanders, who get a significant portion of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, have one of the longest life expectancies (25).

What they have in common is that they eat real, unprocessed food.

However, populations that consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates and processed foods tend to be at greater risk of developing negative health outcomes.

Summary

People consumed carbohydrates long before the obesity epidemic, and there are many examples of populations who have maintained excellent health despite a high-carbohydrate diet.

Carbohydrates are not “essential,” but many foods that contain carbohydrates are incredibly healthy

Many people on a low-carb diet claim that carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient.

This may be true to some extent, but they are an important part of a balanced diet.

Some believe that the brain doesn’t need the recommended 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. While some areas of the brain can use ketones, the brain relies on carbohydrates to provide its fuel (26, 27).

In addition, diets high in carbohydrate foods such as vegetables and fruits offer a variety of health benefits.

While it is possible to survive even on a carbohydrate-free diet, this is likely not an optimal choice as you will be missing out on plant-based foods that are scientifically proven.

Summary

Carbohydrates are not an “essential” nutrient.

However, many high-carbohydrate plant-based foods are loaded with beneficial nutrients so you may not feel optimal if you avoid them.

How to make the right decisions

As a general rule, carbohydrates in their natural, high-fiber form are healthy, while carbohydrates without fiber are not healthy.

If it’s a whole food with a single ingredient, it is likely a healthy food for most people, regardless of the carbohydrate content.

Instead of looking at carbohydrates as either “good” or “bad”, focus on increasing whole and complex options over the processed ones.

In nutrition, things are seldom black and white. But the following foods are a better source of carbohydrates.

  • Vegetables. All of them. It’s best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
  • Whole fruits. Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
  • Legumes. Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
  • Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
  • Seeds. Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Full grain. Choose grains that are really whole, like in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • Tubers. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

These foods may be acceptable in moderation to some people, but many do best if they avoid them as much as possible.

  • Sugary drinks. These are sodas, fruit juices with added sugar, and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
  • White bread. These are refined carbohydrates that are low in essential nutrients and have a negative impact on metabolic health. This applies to most commercially available breads.
  • Pastries, cookies and cakes. These foods are usually very high in sugar and refined wheat.
  • Ice cream. Most ice creams are very high in sugar, although there are exceptions.
  • Candies and chocolates. If you want to eat chocolate, choose good quality dark chocolate.
  • French fries and potato chips. Whole potatoes are healthy. However, french fries and potato chips do not offer the nutritional benefits of whole potatoes.

Summary

Carbohydrates in their natural, high-fiber form are generally healthy.

Processed foods containing sugar and refined carbohydrates do not provide the same nutritional benefits as carbohydrates in their natural form and are more likely to lead to negative health outcomes.

Low carb is great for some, but others work best on high carbohydrates

There is no one size fits all solution in diet.

The “optimal” carbohydrate intake depends on numerous factors, such as:

  • old
  • gender
  • Metabolic health
  • physical activity
  • Food culture
  • personal preference

If you are overweight or have conditions such as metabolic syndrome and / or type 2 diabetes, you may be sensitive to carbohydrates.

In this case, it is likely to be beneficial to reduce carbohydrate intake.

On the flip side, if you’re just trying to stay healthy, there is probably no reason for you to avoid “carbohydrates.” However, it is still important to eat as much whole foods with just one ingredient as possible.

In fact, if your body type is naturally lean and / or you are very physically active, you can function much better with lots of carbohydrates in your diet.

For more information about the right amount of carbohydrates for you, talk to your doctor.

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Expert’s nutrition tips for runners

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Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels

With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.

Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.

Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:

1. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.

For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.

Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.

2. Protein
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.

Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.

3.Fat
Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.

Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.

4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.

5.Water
The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.

Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).

Nutrition and running style

Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.

If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.

If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.

Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!

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Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.

Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!

This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!

Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:

Vegan Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.

Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing

Vegan Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.

Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism

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Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Myths about veganism

Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.

1. Milk has a lot of calcium

Credit: iStock

There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.

2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.

3. Vegans have B12 deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.

4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive

food item
Credit: iStock

The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.

5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.

6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer

  7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.

Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.

7. Veganism is a cult

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.

Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram

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