Confused About Carbs and Healthy Diets? Moderation, balance and variety is all you need to know.
A recent study out of Canada, which looked at the association between fat and carbohydrates with cardiovascular disease and mortality, may have you confused, concerned or curious. With all the information that is out there, where do carbs actually fit in a healthy diet? The USDA recommends that carbohydrates make up for 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. The Canadian study concluded that the greatest increased risk of total mortality was for people consuming more than 70% of their calories from carbohydrates, which is significantly higher than what is recommended. But it is important to understand that the study did not look at the type of foods or specific types of carbs people were eating. Nor did the researchers look at people’s diets over time and account for variety and change. Pasta Fits RD, Diane Welland, explains that when it comes to good nutrition, moderation, balance and variety is essential – and that goes for carbs and fat too. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. Welland says it’s important to eat the right kind of fats, right kind of carbohydrates and right kind of protein and, most importantly, in the right combination. That is true no matter what diet you follow. As we know, pasta, a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and can easily be combined with other nutritious food components, such as olive oil, cheese, lean meat, chicken and fish as well as vegetables, beans and legumes — all healthy macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins). Bottom line: A healthy diet is one of moderation, balance and versatility across all food groups.