& GET LEAN
The annual pre-summer panic has created carbophobia the ditching of a whole food group in a bid to get beach-ready. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as David Smiedt discovers
“When we begin to demonise a particular micronutrient – in the past it was fat and now it’s carbohydrates – we tend to take a black and white approach,” dietitian, nutritionist and author Dr Joanna McMillan says. “There are carbs that are good for you and those that aren’t. By just avoiding all of them you can make it harder to lose weight and get healthy.”
Nutritionist Lyndi Polivnick agrees. “Many people believe that carbohydrates make you fat, but they’re not fattening. If you eat too much, particularly of the less healthy carbs, you may notice weight gain but too much of any food is bad for you. Often when people cut out carbs, they feel less satisfied after a meal and end up eating more.
“Very low carb diets have also been associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety. Cutting out carbohydrates is a sure-fire way to feel more lethargic and flat.” slowly and result in a lower blood glucose response and feelings of fullness.
“Good carbs are wholegrains, such as barley, oats, legumes (beans and lentils), buckwheat and quinoa, wholegrain cereals and breads from rye, barley and oats,” McMillan says.
“A good rule to remember is that the closer a product looks to its natural state, the better it probably is for you.”
Carbohydrate-rich processed foods and drinks are also high in sugar or refined starches with little or no nutritional value, Borgo says. “They provide our bodies with ‘empty kilojoules’ and are often combined with fat and salt which make them palatable and moreish. These poorer choices include soft drinks, chips, biscuits, desserts and takeaways.”