All carbs are NOT created equal. You want the complex kind found in fruits and vegetables. They digest slowly and keep you feeling full longer. Simple carbs, on the other hand, digest quickly—sending your blood sugar levels soaring. And your body stores the sugar blast as fat. What’s more, you’ll be hungry a short time later.
Here are five foods where hidden simple carbs lurk:
Most people believe that wraps are a healthy alternative to sandwiches. After all, how many carbs can there be in something so thin? The answer: A lot. In fact, they often have just as much—if not more—simple carbs than two slices of bread. The extra-large variety you’ll find at most sandwich shops are the worst offenders with almost 40 grams of carbs.1 That’s almost as much as a full can of regular Coke (46 grams). And don’t let healthy-sounding flavors—like tomato and spinach—fool you. Most of these wraps still contain refined white flour packed with simple carbs. Opt for a lettuce wrap or sandwich bowl instead.
2. Jarred Tomato Sauce
Eating tomatoes comes with a lot of benefits. They’re rich in vitamin C and cancer-fighting lycopene. But most of the tomatoes you find in jarred sauces are far from wholesome. Manufacturers add sugar or high fructose corn syrup. They use it to add flavor lost to high-heat processing and to extend shelf life. What they’re also doing is adding unnecessary simple carbs and calories to an otherwise healthy food, which can lead to unexpected weight gain.
It’s best to make your own using fresh ingredients. When you don’t have time to watch sauce simmer, you can find organic, low-carb varieties at the store. You just have to check the ingredients list for added sugars and syrups. And be sure it comes in a carton. Although glass jars are BPA-free, the lining on their lids isn’t.
3. Honey Mustard
Raw, organic honey and mustard are healthful foods. But when you get honey mustard sauce from a bottle or a single-serving fast food cup, you’re getting a whole lot more…and I don’t mean that in a good way. Many producers fill these sauces with high fructose corn syrup to cut the cost of using real honey. This can equate to a lot of unhealthy simple carbs you didn’t intend to eat.
Make your own at home or select an organic preparation that’s free from toxic preservatives and added sugars.
4. Bran Cereal
It’s full of fiber, sure. What else does bran cereal have in it? For starters, as much as six grams of sugar per half cup serving.2 And the type of wheat used to make the cereal contains a compound called amylopectin A. It’s a “super starch” that can raise your blood sugar as much as if you ate two tablespoons of pure sugar.3
There are plenty of healthier ways to get more fiber. One ounce of dry roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, for example, provides three grams of dietary fiber.4 Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens and bell peppers are great sources as well. As a bonus, they’re full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals… Unlike nutrient-injected bran cereal.
5. Protein Bars
If you’re on a low-carb diet, you may assume protein bars are a good snack option. What you may not realize though is that they’re loaded with simple carbs. Sometimes 40 grams or more… Plus nearly 30 grams of sugar!5 That’s no better than a candy bar.
When you want a healthy—but portable—snack that’s high in protein and low in simple carbs, crunch on raw organic almonds and pistachios. One ounce of either contains almost six grams of protein.
The best way to cut hidden carbs is to ditch processed foods for whole foods. And make your own meals every chance you get. This way you know exactly what’s going into each dish.
Do you have any other tips for avoiding foods high in simple carbs? Tell us about them below.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch