Why you should go for 'slow' carbs, not 'low' carbs

So often when dieting you’re told to avoid carbs.

You’re told that carbohydrates can contribute to a whole range of health conditions such as heart disease.

That often means giving up some of your all time favourite foods for the greater good of your health.

But for those who have struggled to live a low carb life, some good news is at hand.

One doctor is challenging the idea of the low carb diet.

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Instead of discouraging us from eating carbohydrates, Dr Mark Hyman is encouraging you to eat what he calls ‘slow’ carbs.

“Carbs are the single most important thing you can eat for health and weight loss,” Dr Hyman said.

“Carbs are necessary for long-term health and brain function.”

But when he talks about carbs, he really means whole plant foods containing all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients we need to keep in the best health.

It’s these plant foods that Dr Hyman refers to as ‘slow’ carbs.

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75% of your carb intake should be from these ‘slow carbs’, such as non-starchy veggies and low-glycemic fruits.

By volume, that means most of your plate should be carbs.

In arguing the point about why not all carbs are bad, Dr Hyman uses soft drink and broccoli as an example.

While they’re both classed as carbohydrates, 750 calories of soft drink and 750 calories of broccoli can have entirely different effects on your body.


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The soft drink will cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to spike, but the broccoli on the other hand will be slowly digested and won’t lead to any spikes in insulin or blood sugar.

“These slow carbs reduce cancer sick and increase your body’s ability to detoxify,” Dr Hyman said.

“Therein lies the key difference. Slow carbs like broccoli heal rather than harm.”

There are four categories of carbs.

Green Carbs, which can be eaten freely;

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Yellow Carbs, which should be eaten in moderation;

Red Carbs, which you should eat in limited amounts;

and Forbidden Carbs, which you shouldn’t be eating at all.

Among the green carbs are broccoli, asparagus, spinach, chard, kale, cabbage and bok choy.

Dr Hyman also recommends seaweeds such as kombu, nori, hijiki and wakame.

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If you’re a lover of grains such as brown rice or a handful of delicious berries, the good news is you can eat them in moderation.

Brown, red or black rice, quinoa and buckwheat, and legumes such as green peas, chick peas and soybeans are all examples of Yellow Carbs.

You can also enjoy up to two stone fruits a day like plums, peaches and nectarines, or half a cup of berries such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries or raspberries.

Dr Hyman suggests you avoid eating too many strarchy vegetables such as peas, potatoes and corns, which can raise blood sugar quicker.

They are examples of Red Carbs, as well as melons, grapes and pineapple, which should only be limited to a half-cup treat once a week.

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The foods you should absolutely avoid, are whole grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats, processed foods and dried fruit.

A low-carb or slow-carb diet can be challenging, but it’s a good enough reason to watch what you eat and try new tastes.

Do you like the sounds of Dr Hyman’s ‘slow’ carb diet?