What are the best carbs if you eat carbs? And should you be even be eating carbs at all? The debates constantly continue…however, here’s why carbs may not be as bad as we’ve all believed, and 8 of the best carbs to eat for a healthier gut and “flat abs.”
The Low Carb & Keto Diet Craze
Low-carb diets, like Ketogenic diets and Atkins, are so hot right now claiming that the “best carbs” are only low starchy carbs, like leafy green vegetables, celery and cucumbers. According to dietary doctrine, other carbs—including real foods like carrots, beets, winter squash and potatoes—are viewed as a “threat.”
Most of these low carb and keto diets also claim they are the #1 way to shed body fat, lose weight, boost brain power and give you energy to last all day long—without the blood sugar dips or 3 p.m. “sugar and coffee” crashes many people experience.
And there’s no doubt that low carb and keto diets work for many people!
We’ve all seen “success stories” on infomercials or news reports at one time or another—particularly on individuals who were living the complete opposite way (ie. processed food or sugar-laden diets) or had chronic health conditions (like epilepsy and diabetes )—tell the amazing benefits of a dramatic lifestyle change.
However, while many folks may start off strong on a low carb or keto diet, or see quick results, there is often very little (long-term) research or follow-up on these stories on the long-term success of these individuals.
Is low carb and keto sustainable forever?!
Although that answer is dependent on the individual… there is one primary problem people may run into on a low carb and keto diet, especially over time—missing out on the best carbs for all-around gut health and flat abs (for the long haul)!
Also known as: Pre-biotics
Prebiotic 101: The Best Carbs
It’s the best kept secret not too many people are talking about in the billion dollar weight loss, diet and health product industry: Pre-biotics.
Dietary fiber that is ESSENTIAL for a healthy gut AND healthy body composition.
While you may have heard of probiotics—healthy gut bacteria that is associated with positive “side effects” like improved mood, a thriving metabolism and a healthy gut (bye-bye bloating and constipation)—pre-biotics are just as important is NOT more for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Pre-biotics are fibers or “resistant starches” found in certain carbohydrates that serve as the “food” for probiotics and are essential to help your probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) house your gut.
These fibers also help provide “bulk” to your stools to create picture-perfect poops as displayed on the Bristol Stool Chart.
The Problem with Low Carb & Keto Diets
Unfortunately, most doctors, nutritionists, and low-carb or keto enthusiasts talk ALL DAY about probiotics, but very rarely (if ever) mention the need for pre-biotics to make your probiotics work.
The results from neglecting pre-biotic fibers and resistant starches?
Your food can get “clogged” especially with high-fat intake and low “bulk” from fiber in stool—even if you eat leafy greens. Pre-biotics help form stools and eliminate constipation.
Without the “push” of food through your GI tract—especially from pre-biotics—bloating or the feeling of food “sitting” or slowly moving can also happen. Pre-biotic starches also promote pancreatic enzymatic action in your GI tract to help break food down more (and distinguish bloating).
Impaired Absorption of All Your Nutrients
Pre-biotics help populate healthy gut bacteria (i.e. probiotics) to build a healthier gut overall that allows you to digest—and absorb nutrients better. Without them, those (healthy) probiotics don’t “house” in your gut, and can inhibit ideal absorption of nutrients and food, while setting the stage for “dysbiosis” (unhealthy gut bacteria imbalance in your gut). Other side effects of low probiotic (healthy bacteria) include bloating, constipation, metabolism dysfunction, unwanted weight gain or loss, skin breakouts, allergies, blood sugar imbalances—and just about any other condition that results from nutritional deficiencies.
Fat gives you lots of energy—but so do carbs. And while humans can’t handle LOTS of sugar, when we neglect carbs all together, sometimes we run into the issue of low energy. Above all balance never did a human body bad. Just, like a plant that needs water, rich soil AND sunlight, humans have 3 main macro needs (proteins, carbs and fats). There’s no escaping this fact. Ideally, the body desires to get its carb energy from carbs, fats from fats and proteins from proteins. Rest at ease: Your human body CAN handle some carbohydrate. The extra bonus of pre-biotics? They tend to have a lower glycemic index, keeping your body from a “sugar rush,” associated with many other carbohydrates.
The 8 Best Carbs for a Healthy Gut & Flat Abs —Even on a Keto Diet
Even though they technically may have a higher “net carb” count than leafy greens, broccoli and cucumbers, if you find yourself running into a road block on your keto or low-carb diet, or wondering why your low-carb diet worked AT FIRST, but is now backfiring, consider the benefits that a little bit of pre-biotic fiber can provide.
Here are the 8 best carbs for a healthy gut and flat abs:
- Cooked & Cooled Sweet Potatoes*
- Cooked & Cooled Pre-Soaked Jasmine White Rice
- Green-Tipped Bananas
- Green-Tipped Plantains (I like to pan fry mine in coconut oil with cinnamon)
- Mushrooms (Reishi, shiitake and maitake)
- Cooked & Cooled Rainbow Carrots and Winter Squash
- Taro (“Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes)
*Cooking and cooling your vegetables (such as chilling in the fridge overnight), before consuming promotes more pre-biotic starch for you to eat.
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