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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Good & Bad Carbs

image carrots Carbohydrates are not in style and haven't been in a while.  Look at the most popular diets such as the keto or ketogenic, paleo and Atkins diets, these are all low to no carb.  However, that doesn't mean you need to feel bad about eating carbs, there are good carbs and bad carbs, and they both play important roles in our diet.  So don't feel out touch or not with the "in" crowd just because you eat carbs.  Let's break it down and figure out how carbs fit into a healthy eating plan, note how this is not called a "diet", rather a "lifestyle" plan, one that can be sustained over a long period of time (like for the rest of your life).  Dare I ask how many have tried to sustain a keto or paleo diet and felt like a failure.  Most importantly find a plan that's healthy and easy to follow so you can feel successful!
  • What is a Carb? — Carbs or carbohydrates are key macronutrients for the body including sugars, fibers and starches.  Carbohydrate foods come in many forms, pasta, grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables and sugar.  The other macronutrients are protein and fat.

  • Why Do We need Carbs? — Carbohydrates, when digested become glucose an important fuel source for the body (brain, muscle and other important biological processes).  Selecting the right kind of carbs such as from whole grains, fruits and vegetable to will provide plenty of fiber, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  All important nutrients for energy, digestion, bodily functions and prevention of many chronic diseases.

  • Are There Bad Carbs? — You may wonder why so many diets cut carbs.  Consider these carbs - pastries, candy, cookies, white bread, refined pasta and white rice, these are high calorie foods especially if you compare them to equivalent serving sizes of protein based foods.  Additionally, they digest quickly and convert to glucose, wrecking havoc on blood sugars and insulin levels which coincide with energy fluctuations.  Take aways these carbs and the calories drop by a lot.  It seems easier for diets to eliminate or reduce these carbs to promote weight loss.  These diets tend to take away good carbs too, even the ones that are higher in nutrients, lower in calorie and more satisfying.  That's where the whole grains, fruits and vegetables are a healthy part of a balanced eating plan.  Don't get me wrong, it's okay to have the occasional "bad" carb.  Are you really never going to have ice cream, cookies or cake again?  

  • image USDA myplate
  • How to Balance Carbs — Granted some individuals need to keep carbs low in their diet to manage blood glucose levels such as those with diabetes or prediabetes.  On the other hand, athletes or high activity individuals may need extra carbs to fuel their sport, activity or profession.  To balance carbohydrates in a meal plan, first select a healthy carb such as brown rice, quinoa, oats or whole wheat pasta.  Then pair it with a protein with some fat.  For a plant-based protein have legumes, nuts or seeds.  Otherwise, add in chicken, lean beef, seafood and low-fat dairy foods (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese).  This combination will be nutrient dense, more satisfying and prevent energy fluctuations.   The USDA ChooseMyPlate diagram shows approximately 30 percent grains, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent fruits and 20 percent protein as a healthy eating style, carbs are included!  Use this guideline as a base for your healthy eating lifestyle plan.


Plastics and Obesity

Endocrine disrupting chemicals that are similar in structure to hormones are most often found in plastics or packaging that come into contact with our foods.  A subset of these chemicals may alter metabolism, some are being called "obesogens".  With this new information, management of the obesity epidemic through the imbalance of excess calories eaten and/or lack of activity can explore "obesogen" exposure as well.

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 20 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise, functional fitness, senior fitness and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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