Carbohydrates: Good or bad?

Confused whether carbs are good or bad? We break it down here.

Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad publicity in recent years, with people asking whether they should be included as part of a healthy diet.

The answer is yes, they should be. The questions, though, are how much and which ones?

Choosing which carbohydrates to eat regularly and which to reduce can be based on knowing which ones have lots of sugar and hardly any nutrients. If weight loss is a goal, getting the most nutrients for the fewest kilojoules is the aim.

Take a look at the following examples of high and low nutrient carbohydrate choices.

Sack of quinoa grains

High nutrient carbohydrates

  • Fresh fruit (2 serves per day recommended)
  • Vegetables like corn, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato
  • Wholegrain breads
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals (try for 7 g dietary fibre /100 g)
  • Legumes, lentils
  • Milk, yoghurt (generally known for their protein)
  • Brown rice, wholegrain pasta

Colourful cupcakes

Low nutrient carbohydrates

  • Soft drink, cordial, sweetened drinks
  • Biscuits
  • Lollies, confectionary
  • Icy poles
  • Table sugar – white, brown, raw
  • High sugar, low fibre breakfast cereals

“If weight loss is a goal, getting the most nutrients for the fewest kilojoules is the aim.”

What to eat?

For the best results you need a balance of the high nutrient carbohydrates eaten, enough carbohydrates to fuel exercise, and not too much to store extra as body fat.

Here are a few hints for portion control:

  • Have one carbohydrate source per meal.
  • Keep carbohydrates to a fist size with meals.
  • Keep carbohydrates to a quarter of the volume on your plate (more will be needed if exercising a lot – a sports dietitian can help you work out how much you need).
  • Choose high fibre carbohydrate sources.

Recommended reading - Eat clean recipe book

Recipes

Wild Quinoa Salad Recipe

A colourful salad to brighten up your summer weeknights

Read more
Recipes

Goji-Nut Bar Recipe

Packed with the protein of nuts and the natural sweetness of dates, these snack bars are a winner

Read more
Recipes

Apple-Passion Bircher Recipe

Start your day out right with a fantastically fresh and light bircher muesli

Read more
Recipes

Mini oat pancakes recipe

Indulge your tastebuds in these sweet and nutritious pancakes.

Read more
Recipes

Zucchini and Carrot Salad Recipe

Mix it up with buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice and add avocado sauce for a finishing touch

Read more
Recipes

Coco-Cacao Truffles Recipe

Power up your afternoon with these scrummy treats

Read more
Recipes

Papaya, Coconut and Flax Smoothie Recipe

Fresh and light, this papaya and coconut smoothie whisks you away to a tropical island

Read more
Recipes

Avocado Sauce Recipe

Creamy and delicious, this avocado sauce is great for dressings, tacos, as a spread or as a dip

Read more
Recipes

Herbed Buckwheat with Brown Rice and Quinoa Recipe

Get the most out of your grains with this nutritious blend

Read more
Recipes

Lentil Salad Recipe

Whip up this salad in a flash for a warm, crunchy and herb-infused dish

Read more
Recipes

Sweet Potato Pizza Toast Recipe

A healthy way to indulge your pizza craving, with the rich goodness of sweet potato and tomato

Read more
Recipes

Brown Rice Fritters Recipe

These yummy and nutritious fritters are delicious in salads, sandwiches and wraps

Read more
Recipes

Seeded Snack Bar Recipe

Crunch on these tasty snack bars for a revitalising afternoon lift

Read more
Recipes

Vermicelli Noodle Salad Recipe

A crunchy, veggie-ful dish to keep you feeling nourished and vibrant

Read more
Recipes

Spinach Sesame Recipe

Bring out the green goodness of this nutritional powerhouse

Read more
Recipes

Broccolini and Cauliflower Soup Recipe

This creamy soup is as filling as it is flavoursome

Read more
Recipes

Sweet Potato Hummus Recipe

Impress your guests with a yummy rosemary-infused hummus

Read more
Recipes

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Did someone say fries? Try a lighter take on a fast-food classic with the goodness of sweet potato

Read more
Recipes

Blueberry and Lemon Infused Water Recipe

Refresh and recharge with this sweet, light summer beverage

Read more
Recipes

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Here's how you make Brussels sprouts delicious- seriously

Read more
Recipes

Mini Chocolate Cakes Recipe

These naturally sweet little cakes are the perfect chocolatey treat

Read more
Recipes

Green Smoothie Recipe

Get your green fix with this refreshing smoothie, the perfect way to energise your day

Read more
Recipes

Sweet Potato Medley Quinoa Recipe

With the fresh flavours of pomegranate and avocado, this colourful salad is a summery delight

Read more
Recipes

Pumpkin and pea risotto recipe

Nothing says comfort like a creamy risotto – and this one is as light as it is tasty

Read more
Recipes

Fresh Salsa Recipe

You'll never buy packaged salsa again with this yummy recipe

Read more
Recipes

Bean Salad Recipe

Chop up your veggies, toss them in a jar - this colourful and filling salad couldn't be easier

Read more
Recipes

Spicy Bean Dip Recipe

Light and tasty, this protein-rich dip is sure to be a hit.

Read more
Recipes

Homemade Toasted Muesli recipe

This muesli is quick and so yummy – especially when you have a serve straight from the oven.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.