If there’s one nutrient that takes way more heat than it should, it’s carbohydrates. Lots of fad diets (like the ketogenic diet and Atkins) promote the restriction of carbs for weight loss-but is that a great strategy for the average person? Not necessarily. It’s true that some foods high in carbs are not the healthiest choices. Research suggests that those not-so-healthy carbs (known as refined carbs)-such as sugary desserts, baked goods, and processed foods like chips-promote weight gain and increase hunger. Still, not all carbs are created equal, and eating the right type of carb can actually benefit your health greatly. Carbs (aka glucose) are your body’s primary source of energy. That means you need carbs to power through exercise. Your brain needs carbs to function at its peak. And yes, you need to eat carbs to simply breathe.

That doesn’t mean you can go crazy and load up on all the carbs you want-it simply means you shouldn’t be afraid of adding healthy carbs to your meals. You’ve probably heard of a beneficial nutrient called fibre (it helps keep you full and aids in digestion), but you may not realize that fibre comes from-you guessed it!-carbs. This macronutrient isn’t just found in cakes, white bread, and pretzels. Nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, and even dairy all contain carbs. So, ready to ditch your low-carb ways? Here, 12 healthy carbs you should be eating more.

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