The Confusion about Carbs


“Carbs” is a buzzword. It’s almost as taboo as politics or religion.  People tell us what to eat or not, but can’t really tell you why. As a dietitian, one of the biggest misconceptions I see as I work with residents and families is their concept about carbohydrates, “carbs.”



Who knows where the confusion all began, but certainly our busy and indulgent environment contributed: “I want what I want, and I want it now.” The food industry responded with a plethora of enticing processed and prepackaged products. Many diets switched from dinner hour at home with fresh, from scratch, balanced meals to a grabbing a quick bite on the run. Many Americans started gaining weight and consequently began to see an increase of diseases associated with weight gain – heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes to mention a few.  We went on the prowl for the villain and condemned refined carbohydrates, forgetting about the fats. Soon all carbs, even unrefined, were criticized and they became the culprit for all our weight gain and health problems. High protein, low-carb menus, meals and diets became a fad as the media jumped on the bandwagon.

Some carbs are bad, especially the wrong kind and too much of them. However, all carbs are not bad. On the contrary, the friendly carbs are very good for us and can be the hero in providing health benefits beyond the nutrients themselves.

Though I see the high protein, low-carb mania decreasing, I am concerned when a misunderstood baked potato is questioned and calorie packed “low-carb” sour cream, butter and bacon bits are consumed without the blink of an eye (Do I need to mention the 800 calorie, 8 oz. steak that came with it?).  I never hear complaints about the luscious triple chocolate brownie dessert that had 3-5 times the amount of carbs, calories and fat than the potato.  So let’s learn how to navigate the web of carbs.

When is a person old?

  Menu Planning

I guess it is a matter of perspective. I never thought of myself as being old until I read an English paper of my youngest son when he was 14. He clearly defined in the paper, that a person was really old when they turned 40; I was 47 at the time. Society OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand tradition have arbitrarily defined age 65 as the line between middle and old age. As I get older, 65 seems pretty young to be old.

Aging is experienced by every person and every living organism. So ready or not, here it comes. Even though we are living longer than we did at the turn of the 20th century, physical capabilities generally decline after about 30 years of age. There really are no rules to aging, as we will all age differently. It might be wise to pay attention to Mom and Dad; you will most likely inherit their genetic predispositions. For example, if both Mom and Dad developed high blood pressure at age 50, you may too.

The good news is that by controlling weight through healthy eating and remaining physically active, the rate of decline is significantly influenced. A recent study gives rise to nutrigenomics – meaning that our genes and diet are related and how the nutrients we consume impact our genes.

There is no question that we may have more health problems as we get older, but there is a large percentage of those 65 and older who are relatively healthy, vigorous, and who enjoy a high quality of life.  Stay tuned to learn more about how healthy eating is defined, and how it can affect your business in regards to resident satisfaction, family satisfaction and employee satisfaction.