Ask the Diet Doctor: What Counts as a Carb?

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 Ask the Diet Doctor: What Counts as a Carb?


Q: My dietitian advised me to slice back again on carbs, but I’m confused about what counts as a grain and which veggies are starches.

A: When limiting your carbs, start off with the most carbohydrate-dense foods in your diet program: foods with included sugar. Then function your way to decreasing grains and pastas, then potatoes and corn, then the remaining starchy vegetables.

The exchange system from the American Diabetic issues Association teams distinctive food items by similar nutritional attributes. In accordance to their listing, the following are grains:

  • Wheat and total-wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Cornmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Total rye
  • Complete-grain barley
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Quinoa

And these vegetables are starches:

  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green Peas
  • Corn

Although this 2nd group is a fantastic guideline, your major offenders—the greatest-carb, lowest-fiber, fastest-digesting, most affordable-nutrient vegetables—are potatoes and corn. The others could be starchy, but their fiber content material and influence on blood sugar are superior for you. Pumpkin, for example, has 20 grams of carbs in 1 cup, but it also includes 7 grams of fiber.

Squash should be wonderful on your diet program, unless of course you are trying to greatly restriction your carbohydrates in buy to follow a ketogenic diet regime (<50g of carbohydrates per day). In that case, vegetables such as butternut squash, peas, and acorn squash will put you over your carb limit too quickly. But that still leaves you with great lower-carbohydrates vegetables, including zucchini, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, celery, and asparagus to name a few.

Q: My dietitian told me to cut back on carbs, but I’m confused about what counts as a grain and which vegetables are starches.

A: When restricting your carbs, start with the most carbohydrate-dense foods in your diet: foods with added sugar. Then work your way to reducing grains and pastas, then potatoes and corn, then the remaining starchy vegetables.

The exchange system from the American Diabetes Association groups different foods by similar nutritional characteristics. According to their list, the following are grains:

  • Wheat and whole-wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Cornmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Whole rye
  • Whole-grain barley
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Quinoa

And these vegetables are starches:

  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green Peas
  • Corn

While this second group is a good guideline, your major offenders—the highest-carb, lowest-fiber, fastest-digesting, lowest-nutrient vegetables—are potatoes and corn. The others may be starchy, but their fiber content and impact on blood sugar are better for you. Pumpkin, for example, has 20 grams of carbohydrates in one cup, but it also contains 7 grams of fiber.

Squash should be fine on your diet, unless you are trying to greatly restriction your carbohydrates in order to follow a ketogenic diet (<50g of carbohydrates per day). In that case, vegetables such as butternut squash, peas, and acorn squash will put you over your carb limit too quickly. But that still leaves you with great lower-carbohydrates vegetables, including zucchini, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, celery, and asparagus to name a few.



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