According to the World Health Organization and the World Cancer Research Fund, we should consume not less than 50-55 percent of calories from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide us with energy. As mentioned above they come in two forms: complex carbs, which are also known as starches, and simple carbs or good carbs. The latter are found in sweets, cakes and soft drinks. Cereals, potatoes and pulses are sources of complex carbs.
The problem with hidden carbs lies rather with the simple forms and sugar contents. Carbohydrate sugars are refined sugars, which should be limited as they contain less water, fiber and nutrition than natural carb sugars in vegetables and fruit. Because sugar is labelled in different ways, we are often misled and have no idea how many hidden carbs we consume. Among the forms of sugar that influence insulin levels and blood sugar, and consequently leads to the loss of weight are raw sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, hydro-generated starch, galactose, sucrose, brown rice syrup, sorghum, turbinado, fruit juice concentrate. Some food with hidden carbs include:
Cream ( 0.6 grams per ounce ), coffee (0.7 grams per cup ), eggs ( 0.7 grams each ), Metamucil ( 2 grams per serving ), Cheddar Cheese ( 0.5 grams per ounce ), Swiss Cheese (0.9 grams per ounce ), Sugar Free Jello ( 1 gram per ½ cup serving ), Artificial Sweeteners ( 1 gram per packet ), Sugar Free Tang (1 gram per cup ).
If you want to lose weight, you should consume less fat, not carbs. Its not the carbs that bump up the calories, it's what you add to them. Bread, beans, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, oats, sweet potatoes, lentils, noodles are all good sources of starches. But whenever possible you must choose brown or high fiber varieties, which will keep you feeling full for longer. To these belong wholegrain rice, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta and porridge oats. Foods rich in carbohydrate also help to prevent constipation and fiber in vegetables and fruit reduces blood cholesterol levels. Many carbs in vegetables and fruit are classified as unrefined sugars that are quite different from the non-nutritious carb sugars, which can be found in fast food. Fresh fruit and vegetables are source of vital phyto-chemicals, that protect us from various diseases like cancer and heart disease. That is why it is strongly recommended to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day. Unhealthy carbohydrates are most often found in foods like cookies, cakes, sweets, carbonated soft drinks, ice-cream and syrups. In order to protect ourselves we don't need to eat any of these carbohydrate foods. As far as sugar is concerned the most refined of all sugars is icing or table sugar.
The problem with hidden carbs can be eliminated if you learn to read nutrition labels carefully and understand which foods can be classified as carbs. To these belong all fruit, vegetables, grain-baked products. Knowing your carb allowance and the number of carbohydrates in foods will help you to make healthy choice.