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Making Sense of Foods

Choosing Carbohydrates Wisely

In addition to being simple or complex carbohydrate sources, foods can also vary in how processed they are. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are generally considered less processed, while refined foods such as fruit punch, potato chips, white bread, sugary cereals, candy, and fried foods are considered more processed.

During processing, many of the nutrients and much of the fiber found in whole foods is often stripped away and certain problematic ingredients, such as fat, sugar, and salt, are added, resulting in a less healthful food.

Getting the Best Carb-Rich Foods

Choose whole, unprocessed foods from plant sources. Choosing whole fruit instead of juice, a whole-grain side dish instead of crackers, and fresh vegetables instead of potato chips will ensure you are getting complex carbohydrates, complete with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Remember also that all types of meat and eggs are essentially devoid of carbohydrates.

When buying packaged foods, check food labels for the word "whole" in front of the word "grain" and make sure that corn syrup or one of the other simple carbohydrates listed above doesn't appear among the first few ingredients on the list.

Carbs to Limit Smarter Carbs Best Choices

Instead of:


Or better yet choose:

Candy Dried fruit Whole fruit
Soda or punch Fruit juice Seltzer with a dash of juice
White bread Whole-wheat bread Seven-grain bread
Enriched pasta Whole-wheat pasta Cracked wheat pilaf
White crackers Whole-grain cracker Vegetable sticks
Cotton candy Caramel apple Apple
Chocolate chip cookie Oatmeal raisin cookie Strawberries
Sugary cereal Bran cereal Rolled oats


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