Published on October 07, 2019


Let’s face it … carbs are confusing. Most diet plans urge you to go low-carb or ditch them completely. Yet, some carbs are actually good for you. The trick is to be carb smart.

Carbs Do a Body Good

bread, fruits, grains and vegetablesYour body needs carbs for:

  • Brain power
  • Energy
  • Essential vitamins and minerals
  • Fiber to keep you feeling full
  • Gut health
  • Heart health

Carbs are one of three ways your body gets calories for energy. The other two are healthy fats and protein. Together, these three are called macronutrients. Dietary guidelines recommend 45-65% of your daily calories come from whole-food carbs.

It’s Complex

Complex carbohydrates, that is. These healthy carbs provide fiber, keep you feeling fuller longer (so you eat less), promote GI health and help keep your blood sugar rockin’ steady.

Easy-to-find sources of complex carbs include:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Starchy veggies
  • Whole fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Whole-wheat products

That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to few cookies, a slice of cake or a few pieces of candy every so often. You just need to limit your intake because processed foods have refined carbohydrates, or simple carbs.

That said, your body does need some simple carbs, such as milk and yogurt, which have vitamins your body needs. Simple carbs are quick-burning, giving you a burst of energy when you need it, like before running a race or during an afternoon office slump.

To get the max benefit, mix and match your macronutrients so you get carbs, fat and protein all at once. For example, add fresh fruit to plain Greek yogurt and voila! You hit a tasty trifecta of macronutrients!

Still not sure which carbs are which? Our dietitians can help. Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to our outpatient nutritional counseling services.

Explore our outpatient nutritional counseling services