Ever since the “no-carb” craze, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap—particularly grains. Many of us know the health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables but are unaware of the benefits derived from grains.
- Fruits and vegetables not only provide many vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but their attractive rainbow colors indicate natural plant pigments that contain specific important nutrients and help prevent certain types of cancers and other diseases.
- Whole grains give us the sustained energy we need each day and also provide:
- Fiber, which helps reduce blood cholesterol, may lower the risk of heart disease, reduces constipation and diverticulosis, and helps you feel full (so you eat fewer calories).
- Folic acid and other B vitamins, which play a key role in metabolism, help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates; and are essential for a healthy nervous system.
- Several minerals that are directly related to the proper function of our bodies and immune system.
- Antioxidants and phytoestrogens, which are helpful in preventing some forms of cancer, fighting off menopausal symptoms, and decreasing the risk of some chronic diseases.
- Whole grains like wheat and barley have young sprouts known as cereal grasses that contain antioxidant enzymes, trace minerals, chlorophyll, and high-quality vegetable proteins that create a powerful tool for good health—e.g. wheat grass.
- Since fruits, vegetables, and grains are crucial for health and actually can help with weight loss, think again before you eliminate them from your diet. Case closed!
Quality carbohydrate intake
Carbohydrates are the most desirable fuel source, supplying our bodies with the energy we need for daily living. Eating the proper kind of carbohydrates will keep us from getting fat and developing possible health problems like diabetes and coronary heart disease.
- MY DIVA DIET recommends that high-quality carbohydrates account for approximately 45% of your daily calories in the Diva Reduction Phase and 45% to 65% in the Diva Maintenance Phase. Depending on your age, lifestyle and activity level (or if you have a certain medical condition that warrants lower carbs).
- There are two categories of carbohydrates: complex and simple.
- Good carbohydrates are the complex ones, like fruit and vegetables, whole grains and grain foods, and legumes.
- Potatoes and yams are excellent choices for healthy complex carbohydrates.
- Poor-quality carbohydrates are the simple ones, like sugar, processed foods, soft drinks, snacks like cookies and chips, and alcohol.
- Most simple carbohydrates are highly refined, contain huge amounts of calories, contribute no nutritional value or fiber, and leave you feeling hungry.
* Quality Carbohydrate Intake Rule
- Unlike other diet programs, MY DIVA DIET doesn’t want you to avoid carbohydrates. We just want you to clean them up and control the amount you consume.
- 200 grams or less of carbohydrates seem to be the best amount to consume each day for most women to lose fat, stay healthy, and be able to function.
- In the Diva Reduction Phase (based on 1,300 calories per day) MY DIVA DIET recommends about 130 to 150 grams. Under 100 grams per day is just not safe—you will not get leaner quicker, nor will you maintain your results.
- In the Diva Maintenance Phase, you can go higher in carbohydrates (how high depends on many variables).
- If you are exercising, have a high metabolism, or for other reasons listed in our Daily caloric intake, a higher carbohydrate intake is warranted.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates like table sugar, junk food, cookies, donuts, etc., as these are not only unhealthy but add unwanted fat pounds to your body.
- The only high-sugar carbohydrates that may be okay in moderation are honey, agave nectar, natural fruit spreads, applesauce, and some dried fruits with no additives.
- Choose your carbohydrates from natural, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you get every benefit nature has to offer. Look for these colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, and white.
- Be very selective when choosing grain products and use the following Paw Guide:
- Whether whole grain is used
- Whether the grain is manipulated
- Whether the grain is reduced to flour (not always bad)
- Whether the product is fried or baked (baked is preferable)
- How the grain is preserved
- If there are any other additives
- The more fiber, the better
So at the end of the day you should be very selective with your carbs, but enjoy and lose weight the safe, healthy and lasting way!