Monday, March 21, 2011
Step away from the (refined) carbs!!
From the March 2011 issue of Nutrition Action Health Letter, statistics show that we are eating about 45% more calories from grains, mostly refined. So what, you may ask?
1. Too much carbs can increase triglycerides and lower HDL ("healthy") cholesterol.
Now, whether these carbs in question are whole or refined grains still remain in question. But evidence does show that people on very-high-carb diets tend to develop dyslipidemia, which is a mix of high triglycerides (at least 150 mg/dL) and low HDL (under 50 for women or under 40 for men). Dyslipidemia is in turn associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
2. Limiting refined grains can help lower blood pressure. A Scottish research study showed 5 to 6 points drop in systolic pressure in participants who received three servings of whole-grains per day for 3 months, compared to those who received refined grains. The difference in blood pressure is comparable to taking a blood pressure medication.
3. Whole grains are healthier than refined grains. Whole grains have been shown to lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as maintain regularity and provide loads of vitamins and minerals.
4. A diet with whole grains is overall healthier. Products with refined carbs tend to be higher in added sugar and calories. When people focus on choosing foods with whole grains, they are less apt to choose things like sugar-laden desserts or carb-loaded mashed potatoes - not that those are not to be avoided at all, but there are healthier options.
So get out there and find your new favorite whole grain breads, cereals, and products!