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Carbohydrates Are Worse Than Saturated Fat

The Healthy Eating Pyramid, from the Harvard S...

The Healthy Eating Pyramid, from the Harvard School of Public Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Healthy” complex carbohydrates like potatoes (starchy unprocessed vegetable) and bread (processed), non-fat fruited yogurt and many fat-free or low fat food options  may put you at higher risk for heart disease. Frank Hu from Harvard explains that by following the directions of National diet guidelines and using high carbohydrate  low fat foods that are especially low in saturated fat may actually increase your risk for heart disease and be a fundamental cause of obesity and diabetes.
The basis is logical for:
Heart disease:  carbohydrates can raise triglycerides, reduce HDL (good cholesterol) and raise small dense LDL
Diabetes: carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels
Obesity: Carbohydrates are perceived to be “non-fattening” so many people over eat them. Vegetables that contain 25 calories/serving contain fiber and nutrients that prevent disease yet are typically not consumed. Many low fat snack choices (100 calorie snack packs,  baked potato chips, pretzels) only provide excess calories and are not filling.
You can read, “Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?” in AJCN, April 21, 2010. Interesting title since both “refined” and “complex” carbs were described to have similar health effects. OK, I’m headed off topic :).
Hu discusses the results that show no relation between saturated fat and a heart attack. A significant increased risk for heart attack was seen when carbohydrate foods that had a high impact on blood sugar were consumed. When eating carbohydrate foods that had minimal impact on blood sugar, such as green and other colorful non-starchy vegetables, the risk for heart disease was lowered.
So, what will it be for lunch tomorrow, a green salad topped with salmon or a baked potato topped with non-fat yogurt?

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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