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How do you determine if something is good carb or bad carb? Reason I ask is after a month of hardcore working out I realized my body has changed. While I was eating five meals a day with very low carbohydrate I find myself now in need of six - seven meals daily else I feel dizzy. I am ALOT leaner compare to pre-workout condition. I was told to intake more carbohydrate but I don't want to over do it. So, what's the best way to determine if food is good carb or bad carb?

I guess i should word it better. Ok let's say if i were to go into a grocery store today and shop for "good carb" food what would i be looking for and what's the most obvious way to look for them? Besides simply reading the label, which fresh produce usually don't have.

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Typically a "good carb" indicates that the food has nutrients and is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly.

  • Whole: Fibers, husks, and other materials provide fiber (which limits an insulin spike) and vitamins. (e.g. Choose brown rice over white rice)
  • Unrefined: Refining processes typically remove nutrients. In addition, they tend to render foods such that they are absorbed faster. (e.g. Avoid regular white flour in favor of stone-ground, or better yet avoid flour altogether)
  • Complex: Natural foods containing "complex carbohydrates" instead of sugars or starches have fiber and other material that helps slow the absorption into the bloodstream (e.g. Choose beans over potatoes)
  • Low-Glycemic: The glycemic index (and the related glycemic load) is a measurement of how quickly foods are absorbed into the bloodstream. Low-glycemic is typically defined as foods with an index no higher than 30-50 (normalized against table sugar at 100).
  • awesome break down of carbohydrate. – KJYe.Name Mar 2 '11 at 1:43
  • i also heard that basically anything that is not white is considered good carb? is this true? – KJYe.Name Mar 3 '11 at 15:19
  • @kjy I don't know if would consider any of this some universal truth, but avoiding white foods is a good rule of thumb. (Healthy exceptions to this rule include cauliflower, eggs, and whole milk) – G__ Mar 3 '11 at 17:31
  • reminds me of a "theory" that a coworker of mine had that all healthy foods were brown. So therefore, if it is brown it is healthy. Triple chocolate fudge brownie with icing anyone? – Berin Loritsch May 10 '11 at 18:47
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Generally, the difference between "good" and "bad" boils down to whether the carbs are "simple" or "complex." In more modern days, the glycemic index is also a good measure of "goodness"

  • very simple way to look at carbs, but is there a visual way to determine what is simple or complex? – KJYe.Name Mar 2 '11 at 1:44
  • i also heard that basically anything that is not white is considered good carb? is this true? – KJYe.Name Mar 3 '11 at 15:19
  • @kjy112 No. Not the color specifically. However, as a general rule, you could say that anything that can be turned in to a white carb can be considered bad (although that'll likely include some good carbs, while eliminating most/all bad carbs) i.e. Cauliflower is a good carb – bitsoflogic Apr 19 '11 at 20:50

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