With the rise of low- and no-carb diets, the word “carb” has taken on a negative connotation. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all diet, there is also no one perfect food. A balanced diet includes a wide variety of foods consumed in moderation. But carbohydrates shouldn’t be considered “empty” calories. Carbohydrates can be rich sources of fiber, such as those found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans, all of which play a role in decreasing the risk of chronic disease.
Brenda Roche Wolford, MS, RD, University of California Cooperative Extension nutrition advisor for Los Angeles County, said, "Moderation in all things is important, but potatoes can lead to weight gain because they rapidly break down into sugars when cooked. These sugars are rapidly absorbed into the blood, removed quickly through insulin in the body and in a few hours we’re hungry again. Potatoes made into potato chips are also related to weight gain. In pasta, the refined grains lack the fiber that makes you feel fuller longer as well as not having the nutrients of whole grains."
Wendy J. Dahl, PhD, RD, FDC, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, said, "A medium potato contains about 150 calories - a great food choice that also contains protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. We need carbohydrate foods, like potatoes and pasta, for energy and optimal brain functioning. The problem with foods like potatoes and pasta is that we tend to eat these foods with lots of added fat making them high in calories. For example, we eat potatoes as fries and chips, and pastas with rich creamy sauces. Much better choices are baked or boiled potatoes with herbs and spices as toppings, and pastas with tomato-based sauces."
Here are a few snack recipes for you to try!
Looking for a great pasta recipe? Susan Whetzel, creator of the Doughmesstic.com blog, shares this recipe for Tomato Cream Sauce.
What is your favorite food group?