Tips for healthy carbohydrate intake for Indians

Carbohydrates in food include grains/grain products, pulses, fruits/vegetables and sugar or sugar based drinks. To ensure healthy carbohydrate intake, you have to eat less of simple sugar based food stuff/drinks and more of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. We are not asking you to give up on pleasure of eating, find below tips on how to take small steps for a big health benefit:

Tip 1: Make sure that at least half of all grains/grain products that you eat in a day, are whole grains or whole grain products

  • In breakfast: choose roti/paratha, whole wheat/multi-grain bread or breakfast cereals over idli, poha, upma, vermicelli or white bread
  • In lunch and dinner: eat more of roti and less of rice
  • If you have to eat rice daily:  choose parboiled rice in place of white rice and eat brown rice in at least two meals/week in place of white or parboiled rice, with the goal of increasing the brown rice intake gradually

Tip 2: Keep your intake of grains and grain products within limits

  • Know the standard serving sizes: one standard serving of cereal, as defined here is the useful basic unit used to monitor intake of these food items, so that you can monitor how much you are eating, in terms of number of standard servings
  • Know how many standard servings you should eat in a day/meal: so that you can keep intake under recommended limits (calculate your recommended allowance here)

Tip 3: Check the ingredient list of products claiming to be whole grain,

if whole grain flour is mentioned as the first ingredient, then only it is really whole grain!

Also, check these whole grain products for bad fats (SFA, Trans FAs and cholesterol and added sugars), which might offset the benefits of whole grains!

Tip 4: Choose ready to eat cereal products such as upma, poha, flavoured oats etc. carefully,

they may have added bad fats, sugars or high quantities of salt, thus offsetting the claimed benefits substantially

Tip 5: Diversify your grain intake,

add brown rice, ragi flour, boiled barley etc. in your menu and reap additional benefits

Tip 6: In making baked goods such as cakes, pastries etc.

nearly half of maida (wheat flour/all purpose flour) can be replaced with atta (whole wheat flour) with good results

CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet