Carb Phobia


Carb phobia. Have you noticed it around the place? Perhaps you have it yourself?

The problem with avoiding carbs is you also tend to avoid eating sufficient fibre, and all the nutritional and digestive benefits that go along with fibre. Most people don't eat enough fibre.

Fibre feeds the good bugs in our digestive system (and a low carb/low fibre diet starves them, allowing unwanted bugs to proliferate). Fibre helps slow down the release of sugar (as food breaks down) into our bloodstream, keeping blood sugar balanced. Fibre helps us feel full so we don't have such a tendency to overeat, and we feel satisfied.

A recent meta-review of health research on carbohydrates analysing 58 clinical trials, 158 prospective studies and 4635 participants....concluded that complex carbohydrates (which contain fibre), such as wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds) provide significant protection against coronary artery disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.

In fact, the people with the most fibre-rich diet had a 15-30% reduction in deaths from all causes.

In other words, carbohydrates from wholegrains and legumes, as well as fruit and vegetables, with all their different types of fibre, are important for our health and help prevent disease as we age.

The research also found that those who eat the most unrefined plant foods have healthier blood sugar and fat/lipid levels- more effective than following a low glycaemic diet.

If you are concerned about your weight, the filling effect and gut healthy effects of wholegrains and high fibre foods can help.

I have to agree with Michael Pollan's approach as the most natural and healthy way to eat.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Some ways to ensure you are getting your recommended 25-30g of fibre daily are to include in your diet:

lots of vegetables
wholegrains such as a pilaf made from millet, brown rice or quinoa, 100% wholegrain sourdough breads
raw nuts
fresh fruit, especially apples
popcorn (preferably without the butter, sugar and flavourings, just some seasalt)
legume dishes with beans, lentils such as hummous and chilli con carne or lentil soup
meusli or porridge

There are carbs and there are carbs. Refined white flour and sugar are carbs- without the fibre. We can live without them. Just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! Many studies do not discriminate between types of carbs and the ameliorating effect of fibre in wholegrain or whole plant foods.

Eating mostly whole, unprocessed plant-based foods, along with some animal protein if desired, is the most time tested, simple and common-sense way to eat.

Be careful of diet fads, and listen to your own body and what makes you feel good. I always recommend eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods as the best health insurance.

Here is the study mentioned above:…/PIIS0140-6736(18)31809…/fulltext