Carbs That Are Actually Good For You

All carbs are not evil or created equal, so check out which ones are best for your body

Carbs That Are Actually Good For You

While carbs tend to get a lot of bad press (think the Atkins diet), they are an essential part of any diet if you expect to have energy and function at an optimal level. “Your body definitely needs carbs,” says nutritionist Kelly Aronica, who believes that they should make up at least 50-60% of the calories you consume daily. Why? Because glucose, the simplest type of carbohydrate, is the only thing that can be used to meet the energy needs of the body, support the brain and nervous system, and maintain a well-functioning digestive system.

Click here to see the Carbs That Are Actually Good For You Slideshow.

Though the body has a backup plan if no carbohydrates are eaten, it’s not perfect (hence why it’s meant as a backup plan). As Aronica explains it, if there's a lack of carbohydrates, the body essentially converts protein and fat into glucose, which is what the body converts into fuel so we have energy. The problem is that this system is less efficient and slower than just consuming carbohydrates and, depending on your sensitivity level, it often leads to low energy and light-headedness. But that’s not the only reason to eat carbs.

As Aronica puts it, carbs are also needed because their presence lets the body know to release insulin, which is necessary to use the glucose to build muscle, energy storage, and even fat (if you have excess glucose). Now if the mention of fat made you start to believe all those anti-carb rants, then you need to remember that there’s a big difference between carbs that provide fiber, nutrients, and vitamins and ones that only supply sugar. Don’t believe us? Aronica points out that a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine “showed that eating refined potato products, sweetened drinks, sweets and desserts, fruit juice, and other refined grains were linked to weight gain where high-fiber carbs were linked to long term weight loss.” So instead of banishing carbs from your diet, be more particular about the ones you eat.

Avoid refined carbohydrates (like white bread) and opt for the carbs that have high-fiber levels and a bounty of nutrients and vitamins, like folate and heart healthy omega-3's. While most of the fibers in food aren’t actually digestible, they provide a lot of other important health benefits to keep you operating at your best and are a necessary part of any diet. To help you make better choices, we put together a list of the carbs that are best for your body. 

Click here to see the Carbs That Are Actually Good For You Slideshow. 


Additional research by Valaer Murray.

Be a Part of the Conversation

Have something to say?
Add a comment (or see what others think).

Comments 3

Like this story? Get updates by email, facebook and twitter
Get daily food and wine coverage

Latest from The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal Video Network
DIY VS. BUY: Potato Chips



I am tired of the misnomer about the Atkins Diet. It does not ban all carbohydrates. In the "Induction Phase" it severely limits them but after that stage it advocates reintroducing low glycemic carbs slowly back into your diet. Nowhere in the diet does it say "Though shalt not consume carbs".

If the diet was that ineffective millions of people would not have had the successes they achieved while on it. Dr. Atkins did not promote the word "diet", that word alone sets up your mind and subconscious for failure. He liked to used life change style in eating.

I have done the diet twice the first time I lost 50lbs. and the second and current time I have lost 49lbs from 212lbs to 163lbs and am 73 in tall. Am I "hungry" on his diet, never. Do I avoid carbs like the plague, NO. As mentioned in the article there are good carbs and bad carbs. The problem lies in how many "bad" carbs we consume that convert to excessive amounts of glucose which when can't be used by the body as energy is stored as "fat" for times of famine (genetically predisposed when we were hunters/gatherers, not hamburger drive through addicts).

Bottom line: I am healthy, trim and feel great. Try any diet promoting the use of low glycemic carbs, be forewarned, you will have to dig out clothes you haven't worn in years or spend money on clothes in sizes you haven't worn since you were 20. Nice problem. How many dieters and non-dieters can say that? I always use the analogy: go to any mass merchandiser and grab a 50lb bag of dog food; how long could you carry it around in the store? That's exactly what you are asking your heart to do when over weight.


Vegan popcorn is always a good one

casa-giardino's picture

In my opinion, good carbs are essential in one's diet and our family eats plenty of them.

Add a Comment

Upload a picture of yourself no larger than 3MB, please see Terms for details
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human