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Is There A Difference Between Processed And Whole Carbs?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am 14 years old and i weight train. I complement my training by eating A LOT (4000/day) coming from protein,fat and carbs and i stay extremely lean. Carbs...we hear a lot of bad things about them now a days. I eat quite a bit of them in my daily diet but they are the clean,whole kind. Do all the bad things we hear about them refer to the processed, refined carbs or also the clean, whole kind?
Signed: Is There A Difference Between Processed And Whole Carbs?

Dear Is There A Difference Between Processed And Whole Carbs?,


Over the years there have been several diets which called for the elimination or significant decrease of carbohydrates. These particular diets may have helped to paint the picture that all carbs are bad and should be totally avoided if you are looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight. The fact is that carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel it needs for physical activity and proper organ function – so they are a very important part of healthy diet. The key is not eliminating all carbs, but understanding that some kinds of carbs are better than others – and trying to incorporate the better ones into your diet.


Healthier carbs include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods provide the body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and various phytonutrients that can promote good health. On the flip side are the more easily digested carbs, such as white bread, white rice, pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods. These types of carbs can contribute more to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and can even lead to certain kinds of medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.


So how can you start to incorporate the better carbs into your diet? Start by asking your parents to stock the kitchen with things like whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pastas, beans, and grains such as quinoa, whole oats, and bulgur. And then try to include a portion of these foods into your meals and snacks. Keep in mind the saying that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. While these healthier carbs are good for the body, it is still important to maintain reasonable serving sizes. To learn more about how many servings a day of carbs you need (as well as other types of foods), read about the food pyramid in the answer to More On Eating Healthy on the website.


FX would also like to point out that weight training, particularly during adolescence, is something that should be done with the guidance of a trained professional to ensure that no temporary or long-term damage is inflicted. You can read the answer to Weight Lifting and Stunted Growth In Detail on our website to learn more.


If you have further questions about your weight training and diet, please speak with your primary care physician, a nutritionist, and/or a personal trainer. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network healthcare providers.


Signed: TeenHealthFX