The Carbohydrate Controversy - CulinArt Group

Eat Well Blog

The Carbohydrate Controversy

It’s May and this month we will be talking all about the Superfood: Whole Grains!

Over the years, carbohydrates have gotten bad press. You may have heard that carbs lead to weight gain, diabetes, or increase inflammation. Well we’re here to bust that myth and show you why carbs are not the enemy.

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat), which means they are one of the main sources of energy for our body. They consist of sugars, starches, and fibers and are found in grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products.

Simple vs Complex Carbohydrates

There are two groups of carbohydrates – simple and complex, or refined and whole grain. The difference lies in how they are broken down in the body. Simple or refined carbohydrates are absorbed quickly, which could lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes. Examples are white bread, baked goods, soda, honey, and syrup. Complex carbohydrates are larger molecules and are absorbed more slowly, which keeps our blood sugar steady. Examples include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. These types of carbohydrates pack a nutritious punch providing a variety of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. Complex carbohydrates also tend to be higher in fiber, which helps us feel satisfied longer. The high fiber content of complex carbs can also help lower LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol, maintain digestive and heart health, and keeps blood sugar consistent. Simple carbohydrates definitely have a place in a healthy diet, restriction is not the answer. A consistent intake of carbohydrates, both simple and complex, throughout the day is essential to maintain proper health, well being, and energy levels. In fact, simple carbohydrates are recommended prior to exercising. They are low in fiber and fat, so they will digest quickly and prevent cramps or stomach pain. When we are exercising, we want all of our energy dedicated to our activity, rather than digesting complex carbs or fatty foods. Depending on when you eat before exercising, try having a sports drink, granola bar, crackers, or fruit, to give your body the energy it needs. To keep up with our energy demands during exercise, and not “hit the wall,” we need simple carbohydrates. The refined carbs will digest rapidly to restore our body’s depleted energy. Don’t forget about consuming carbohydrates after a workout as well! Carbs will help recover the energy lost during exercise and allow protein to help repair and rebuild muscles. Chocolate milk is a standard post workout recommendation because it contains a nice balance of carbs, protein, and fat. You could also enjoy a bagel with eggs and fruit, or rice with grilled chicken and veggies.

Carbohydrates have also been shown to improve our mood by boosting the brain’s release of serotonin. The B vitamins within whole grains help keep energy levels up, while easing stress and improving memory. Magnesium found in whole grains, helps fight anxiety and depression by producing serotonin.

Including More Carbs in your Diet

Start with Breakfast

  • Try steel cut or old fashioned oats topped with your favorite fruits and nut butter
  • Get creative with a breakfast quinoa bowl drizzled with honey
  • Toast a whole wheat English muffin to accompany scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Combine a few high fiber cereals, mix in raisins, and add milk

Move on to Lunch

  • Pack a sandwich on whole wheat bread loaded with lean protein and vegetables
  • Chop up a big green salad, top with croutons, with a whole grain roll on the side
  • Make a blended burger – meat + grains – and serve on a whole wheat bun
  • Try a pizza on a whole grain or cauliflower crust

Finish with Dinner

  • Top farro with veggies and meat for a yummy grain bowl
  • Stir fry brown rice with peas, corn, and an egg. Add chicken for some extra protein.
  • Bake a potato or sweet potato and serve with fish
  • Cook whole wheat spaghetti and turkey meatballs

Don’t Forget About Dessert

  • Bake apples and top with cinnamon and brown sugar
  • Make a peach crisp with an oatmeal crumble
  • Mix berries and top with whipped cream
  • Grind up oats and use as flour in baked goods

What about Snacks

  • Have a banana and nut butter
  • Make your own trail mix with dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Cheese and crackers make a great pair
  • Top yogurt with fruit and granola

Busting the Carbohydrate Myth

All in all, balance is important – our diet should consist of all three macronutrients to stay energized and healthy. There are a ton of fun whole grain products out there to try like freekeh, barley, or soba noodles, bean based pastas like chickpea, black bean, or lentil, whole grain bread, cracker, and cereal varieties. Without enough carbohydrates, we may start to feel dizzy and lose concentration. Carbohydrates have also been shown to improve our mood by boosting the brain’s release of serotonin. The B vitamins within whole grains help keep energy levels up, ease stress and improve memory while the magnesium found in whole grains helps fight anxiety and depression by producing serotonin. Be sure to include a carbohydrate source at each meal!

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  • May 6, 2020

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What our clients are saying

“Even though we see challenges every day, each one of you rises to the occasion and makes it seem so easy. I cannot express how impressive it is to see you all work in such a fashion. You are true professionals.”

“Many, and I do mean many, thanks for a great Parents Weekend.  I heard from so many happy parents and you all work very hard to make it happen.  In gratitude and kindness…”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

“The dinner I had tonight at Forman was not only the best meal I have had at Forman in the entire time I have been here, it was the best meal I can remember having anywhere in a long time. [It] was a restaurant quality meal, and it added to the enjoyment that the two young ladies serving me could not have been more charming. What an energizing way to finish a weekend eating a dinner like that.”

“What a difference a top chef makes to student satisfaction and enjoyment of campus life!  At a recent boarding school conference, food was mentioned as a key retention method and it is really true. The comforts of home are found in good food and meals enjoyed with friends. We couldn’t be more pleased with the healthy and delicious daily options presented by our chef and his team. Frank even has a suggestion box, so he is always open to new ideas and he even offers cooking classes for our students!”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“What a night! You and your team rocked it and made us look like stars. Great working with you and know we will have more chances to work together on future events.”

“The CulinArt team has been great to work with and has been super flexible. Having worked with other dining services at different institutions, having a dining team that is open to menu changes has been a great resource for our events. ”

“I just wanted to send a quick note acknowledging the wonderful food and service provided by our new vendor.  The food was delicious and the students consistently commented on how amazing everything was.  What a difference! In addition, the staff and management were so easy to deal with – very professional.  They were punctual, responsive and attentive to our needs.  Thank you again for making a positive change to the quality of life of our students.”

“Thank you and your staff for all the care and thought you give CSW adults and students. You approach events with such care and elegance- I don’t know how you do it! Especially day after day. Please thank all your staff for their wonderful work and kind manner with all of us. Here is to a great year!”

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