Friday 19 April 2019

Nutrition guide: Week 3

Nutritionist Orla Walsh
Nutritionist Orla Walsh
Sweet potato

Orla Walsh

It's fair to say that most food groups have taken a bashing during short-lived faddy food trends and carbohydrates are no exception.

Carbohydrates, like protein and fat, provide the body with energy as measured in calories. Carbohydrates and protein both provide four calories per gram while fat provides nine calories per gram.

Carbohydrates feed our brain and only under extreme circumstances does it feed on anything else.

The brain doesn't store carbohydrate and hence requires a continuous supply from our body's stores.

The brain eats about 120 grams of carbohydrate daily, which is just under 500 calories.

Carbohydrate is often referred to as our energy source. The more we move, the faster we move and the longer we're moving, the more carbohydrate we burn through, similar to a car with petrol.

The 'tank' where we store carbohydrate is our muscles and liver.

It's important to tailor your carbohydrate intake to your activity levels. If you eat more carbohydrate than you're burning, then the excess will be stored as fat.

Like all food groups there are healthier carbohydrate sources and less healthy carbohydrate sources.

As a general rule, if it grew out of the ground looking similar to how it appears on your plate, it's a healthy carbohydrate.

Sweet potato

Healthy sources of carbohydrate include potatoes, oats, sweet potato, butternut squash, turnip, pumpkin, bulgur wheat, buckwheat and quinoa.

Just because a carbohydrate is processed, doesn't necessarily mean it isn't healthy. The trick is to look at the fibre and sugar content. This appears on the back of the packet or box.

Simply look at the label for the nutritional information. Healthier carbohydrates contain less than five grams of sugar per 100 grams and more than six grams of fibre per 100 grams.

The good news is that research has found that by increasing the amount of fibre people ate by 14 grams, overall calorie intake came down by 10 per cent resulting in a loss of over 4lb in under four months.


Nutritional Information (100 grms)

Fibre: Greater than 6 grams

Sugar: Less than 5 grams

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