If you know someone who’s dieting, there’s a 90% chance they’re avoiding carbohydrates at all costs. In fact, try Googling the question “are carbs evil?” and you’ll get at least half a million search hits. 

So are carbs really bad for you? The answer is both yes and no.

On the one hand, carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, making them an indispensable part of your diet.

However, most of the carb-rich food we consume are highly refined, which gives them a high glycemic index or GI. Such food rapidly releases glucose into the bloodstream, causing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. This triggers the body to produce more insulin, a hormone that takes glucose from the bloodstream and signals the body to store it as fat.

Moreover, diets rich in high GI food have been linked to increased risk for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The good news is that there are lots of healthier alternatives to your favorite carbs. Here are just some suggestions:

If you’re craving rice…

Probably the hardest carb to cut from your diet is rice. After all, the average Filipino eats about 120 kilos of it each year. However, a cup of cooked rice packs a whopping 44 grams of carbs and around 200 calories.

For a healthier alternative, try making cauliflower rice instead. Just grate a head of cauliflower to create grain-like particles, squeeze out any excess moisture, then sauté in a teaspoon of oil. It’s tasty, filling, and contains just 25 calories per cup.


Grated cauliflower makes for an excellent alternative to rice

If you’re craving bread…

Filipinos have a love affair with bread, especially pandesal, the small but deceptively carbohydrate-packed breakfast staple.

You can replace pandesal with cloud bread, which has taken the food world by storm. Made with just eggs, cream cheese, and a bit of sugar, this bread alternative contains a negligible amount of carbs and just 62 calories per serving.

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Cloud bread contains barely any carbs

If you’re craving pasta…

Who wouldn’t relish digging into a hearty plate of spaghetti and meatballs? But unless you’re okay with the 412 calories that each serving contains, you might want to swap out the noodles with homemade zucchini “pasta.”

To make some, just use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to create long, thin strips of zucchini. Blanche the faux noodles in boiling water or sauté in oil to soften them a bit.

The best part? Each serving has just 6 grams of carbs and only 30 calories.

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Turn zucchini into a low-carb pasta substitute

If you’re craving potato chips…

When people get the urge to snack, they often reach for a bag of chips. Unfortunately, even a small 28-gram pack of it contains about 160 calories.

Kale chips offer the same delightful crunch without any of the guilt. Many specialty stores now carry these chips, but you can also easily make them at home in under 30 minutes.

With just 47 calories per serving and high fiber, iron, and Vitamin K content, kale chips are a far healthier snack than potato chips.

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Kale chips offer a satisfying crunch and a generous amount of nutrients

Ready to make the switch?

Before undertaking any major dietary changes, be sure to speak with your doctor first!

We’d also like to reiterate that carbohydrates are not bad for you—you simply need to moderate the amount you consume to avoid weight gain. And do remember that eating a balanced, healthy diet, combined with regular exercise, is the the real key to achieving your fitness goals.

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