“I’m on the no carb diet.” It’s a phrase I hear far more often than I’d like, since it illustrates that the speaker doesn’t have a clear grasp on which nutrients are found in various food groups. The only people on a true “no carb” diet are those eating nothing but meat and eggs! Carbohydrates are found in all other foods – grains, dairy, nuts, beans, fruits, and all vegetables. They’re the body’s primary energy source, your brain’s fuel of preference, and aid the absorption of protein. But it’s true that as a country, we eat a lot of carbohydrate-containing foods. In fact, calories we eat from carbohydrates have been on the rise since the 1970’s, displacing some of the fat in our diets: this graph shows the trend.
Kind of crazy, isn’t it? The low-fat movement was part of the reason for this shift, and while over-consuming calories from any source leads to weight gain, it’s much easier to over-consume carbohydrate. Your body digests it first, and faster, than protein and fat, meaning that it’s harder to feel full for long periods of time on carbs alone. Fiber, a natural component of all carbohydrate-rich food (except dairy), is mostly removed in processing flours, and sweeteners like cane sugar contain none (if you ever get to visit a cane sugar farm, see if they’ll let you taste the plant – it’s mildly sweet, but very tough and chewy!).
Eating carbohydrate in the form of veggies and legumes is a great way to get them without going overboard and starting a cycle of carb-craving! Enter ScratchDC’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps – they are low in carbohydrate thanks to the colorful, fiber-rich carrots, peppers, and peanuts, are high in satiating protein, and balance it out with fat from the olive oil in the delish chili sauce.
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Order now – it’s the perfect meal for this humid week!
Sarah Waybright, MS, RD, LD is the scratchDC Nutritionist in Residence. She is all things healthy and runs an amazing company called Why Food Works that provides dinner parties and healthy habit-reboots through cooking lessons in your home!