Saturday, March 1, 2014

White Foods (Carbs) Aren't Always The Enemy

If you've read that white carbs are the enemy, you will be surprised to discover that certain white carbs are actually healthy nutrients. For example, potatoes have a bad rep, but should they be avoided in all forms? 

And if you are on a low sugar/low carb eating plan like the one described in my ebook (sign up for it at the top of the column to your right), you wonder what carbs you can eat and still hit your weight loss targets.

This post contains about a discussion about white carbs by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and author of best-sellers The Fat-Burning Kitchen and The Truth About Six Pack Abs.

I'd like to start a discussion today about carbohydrates... and in particular, "white foods" as well as potatoes. One reason I wanted to mention this is because so many health and fitness professionals trash talk potatoes. They call potatoes a bad carbohydrate choice because of its high glycemic index.
Some even say such ridiculous things as "avoid any and all white carbohydrates." 
Ok, while I agree that white bread and refined white sugar are two of the worst things we can feed our bodies, I definitely don't agree with avoiding any and all "white carbohydrates". Now I know all of the buzz lately has been about colorful foods and the protective antioxidants that they contain. They tell you to focus on colors and stay away from white.
"White Foods" aren't necessarily always the enemy 
It's true that colorful foods are great, but it is a big mistake to specifically avoid white foods! There are plenty of white foods that have specific nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere. Let's look at a few examples:
Onions and Garlic 
What about onions and garlic? They are both white and they are chock full of protective phytonutrients, vitamins, and trace minerals that aren't easy to find elsewhere in a normal diet. These nutrients as allicin, quercetin (an important flavonoid), chromium, and other unique anti-inflammatory nutrients.
In fact, onions are so powerful for our health, that one study of centenarians (people that live to over 100 years old) identified that a common thread of these amazingly healthy individuals was that they ate a lot of onions throughout their lives.   And we also know that garlic is one of the most powerful substances for a strong immune system, among other qualities. 
Another example of something white that is great for you is cauliflower. Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, minerals, and special compounds such as glucosinolates and thiocyanates, which are specifically abundant in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  
And a little-known fact is that some of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables help to combat other estrogenic compounds in our food supply and environment and can help prevent excess belly fat.  So eat up on that cauliflower!
Not many people realize this, but surprisingly, even white mushrooms have high levels of unique nutrients and antioxidants. White mushrooms are high in a couple types of antioxidants called polyphenols and ergothioneine.  And some types of mushrooms, such as portobella mushrooms, are surprisingly good sources of Vitamin D. 
Now that also leads us to another example - white potatoes (which by the way, can also be found in red, yellow, purple varieties, etc). Many health professionals claim that potatoes are a bad carbohydrate because they are thought to have a high glycemic index.  
First of all, if you've read my The Truth About Six Pack Abs ebook, then you understand that glycemic index is not necessarily the most important factor in choosing your carbohydrates. 
While a generalization can be made that most LOW glycemic index carbohydrate choices will help you lose body fat easier than HIGH glycemic index choices, it is not all that it's cracked up to be.
There are many other factors that determine how your body will react-to and process the carbohydrates you ingest, such as glycemic load and also how you combine the high GI food with other foods such as protein, fiber, and fats, which all slow down absorption of the ingested carbs.
Also, food combinations are important in how your body processes the carbohydrates and the associated blood sugar and insulin response you receive. For example, if you mix a high glycemic index carbohydrate with an extra source of fiber, healthy fats, or even certain proteins, many times the blood sugar and glycemic response will be slowed down considerably by the way you combined the food.
Again, I talk in detail about this entire topic in my The Truth About Six Pack Abs book.
So back to my point that white potatoes are actually a healthy carb as long as you eat them in the right form. Please don't ruin them by deep frying them into french fries either! French fries are one of the most evil things ever invented for your health, but only because we ruin them by soaking them in a scorching bath of trans fats in the deep fryer from the hydrogenated oils that are typically used.
Keep in mind that potatoes contain so many vitamins and minerals that the list is way too long to even try to list them all.
One Warning About Potatoes 
Please note that potatoes do contain low level toxins called glycoalkaloids (it's the plant's protection mechanism) that are concentrated in the skin, so it is a good idea to always peel potatoes before making any dishes with them. 

Stay tuned for my next post for a tasty potato recipe that takes into account Mike's advice.

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