Friday, May 18, 2012

Scared of a Carrot

by Kris Pitcher

There are a few veggies getting a bad wrap. It's an issue of not really seeing the big picture, or maybe understanding a little information but not quite how to apply it.

Vegetables are great and we should eat a whole bunch of them. We should eat all kinds without discrimination for color. And we should understand what it means to be a "sugary" vegetable.

We've over simplified the facts about vegetables high in sugar and we aren't touching them with a ten foot pole. But for what? And why are you so scared of a carrot?

When we talk about veggies high on the glycemic index we are talking about them in comparison with white bread, gram for gram. What we aren't considering is what else that veggie has going for it.

Look at carrots. Sure, they're a bit higher on the glycemic index...but let's look at their break down. A cup of carrots is 52 calories, 12 gm carbs, 4 gm fiber, 6 gm sugar, 1 gm protein. It's estimated glycemic load is 3. The USDA recommends a load no greater than 100 for the entire day. Umm, OK 3.

That cup of carrots also delivers 428% of your daily dose of vitamin A. It's got vitamin C, iron and calcium. Hopefully you are eating those carrots with other items further slowing it's digestion and glycemic load. See, not so scary.

How about red bell peppers - also getting the cold shoulder lately. A cup has 46 calories, 9 gm carbs, 3 gm fiber, 6 gm sugar, 1 gm of protein. It serves up 317% of your daily dose of vitamin C as well as giving you iron, vitamin A and calcium. Like carrots, it has a glycemic load of 3.

Certainly we can make room in our stir fry, our salad, or our snack mix for these and other delicious veggies. When we eat these along with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats their digestion rate is slowed further. These veggies fit into our plan and provide important nutrients, great variety and wonderful taste.

To stay away from them because of their 6 grams of sugar makes as little sense as eating snackwell cookies. Keep the big picture in mind while you're on the road to healthy eating. Don't get lost with a little bit of information.

A wide variety of vegetables in all colors make perfect sense. Sweet peas, carrots, red bell peppers...yes please!

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