For years, white foods — commonly known as “bad carbs” — have been blamed for the obesity epidemic and high blood sugar levels. This idea came into the national radar when low-carb diets were popular. The truth is that all foods — even white foods — can be a part of a healthy diet. We can make sense of the white-food dilemma by remembering there are two white-food groups: the refined group and the natural white group.
This group includes the foods that have been processed and refined, like flour, rice, pasta, breads, crackers, and table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The basic idea that white foods are bad comes from eating too many of these types of foods, which are made with sugar and white flour. The difference between these refined foods and their whole grain counterpart is the processing and the fiber. A whole grain starts with three components: a bran (fiber), germ (vitamins/minerals or are known to fight heart disease and diabetes. The potato often gets labeled as being ‘bad’ because of its carbohydrate content; however, it too can be included in a healthy diet by simply being mindful of the portion. We can turn these healthier white foods into unhealthy options quickly by deep frying and/or slathering them with butters, sour cream, and/or cheese.
It is easy to overeat the refined products and sweets because they are less satisfying than whole grains and other higher fiber foods. The body quickly absorbs the processed grains and simple sugars. The body becomes hungry again because these foods do not stay with you. The whole grains, vegetables, and legumes are often higher in fiber and volume and tend to be more filling. When you feel full longer, you are better able to control portions, and ultimately weight management becomes easier.