10 Tasty Carbs That Won’t Make You Fat

by | Mar 20, 2013

Photo by Denna Jones

We all know the story. Eating carbohydrates causes a spike in blood sugar, which results in a surge of insulin. Insulin shuttles all that extra sugar into your fat cells and you become obese. Over time, your poor helpless organs become resistant to insulin and you develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, thereby shortening your life by 7 years.

All of that is true.

The story is more complicated, however, because all carbs are not created equal.

I’m not here to tell you sugar and flour won’t make you fat, they will. But unrefined foods that just happen to be slightly higher in starch or sugar don’t, in reasonable quantities, elicit giant blood sugar spikes or abnormally high insulin levels.

Instead, unprocessed carbohydrates generate gentle, moderate rises in your blood glucose and insulin, giving you a small but long-lasting supply of energy your muscles can use for several hours. This is what is supposed to happen when you eat nourishing food, and normal healthy people have no reason to fear it.

(In my experience, eating intact grains can even curb sugar cravings and help you avoid those late night slip ups that undo all your progress and riddle you with guilt.)

So what are these magical carbs that don’t make you fat? Pretty much anything you can find in nature. If it comes in a box and has a prominent “whole grain” sticker on it, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a license to gorge yourself on grains or any food. Eat enough of something, or eat it quickly, and you’ll still end up with more sugar in your blood than your body knows what to do with. But in moderate quantities you can eat from the following list without risking your life or growing out of your favorite jeans.

10 Tasty Carbs That Won’t Make You Fat

1. Fruit

Some popular diets recommend limiting fruit because of its relatively high concentrations of sugar compared to other foods. However you can continue to lose weight even while eating fruit, so long as you don’t pig out on it. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, is bad for you not because it raises your blood sugar, but because it is converted to fat in the liver. However the relatively small amounts of fructose present in whole fruit is nothing to worry about.

2. Beans

Though beans are relatively rich in carbs, a substantial portion of it is fiber and the overall glycemic load is pretty low. Beans are also an excellent source of iron, protein and folate, as well as essential minerals.

3. Oats

Oatmeal is tricky because Quaker and other companies have somehow convinced us that cooking real oats is too hard and time consuming for any civilized human being. This conveniently allows them to mark up the prices on their instant, pre-sweetened varieties that are closer to dessert than they are to a healthy breakfast. But in reality real rolled oats are low calorie, high fiber, and not fattening in the least. They also cook up in minutes.

4. Dairy

Have you ever checked the label of plain yogurt and wondered how all that sugar got in there? No you’re not crazy, it’s just that the FDA nutrition labels don’t distinguish between added sugar (sucrose or fructose) and naturally occurring sugars like lactose, the sugar in milk. In reasonable quantities and without added sugars (read labels carefully), unsweetened dairy products will not usually contribute to fat accumulation.

5. Lentils

Like beans, lentils are full of fiber and digest slowly. If anything, adding lentils to your diet will likely help you lose weight, not make you gain it.

6. Farro

One of my favorite foods, farro is a dense and chewy grain with a thick husk and rich flavor. Although it is a grain, farro is very filling and a little goes a long way. No need to spike your blood sugar with this stuff.

7. Wine

Though people often cite wine and alcohol as having a lot of calories, your body digests alcohol calories different than sugar calories and they have virtually no impact on glycemic response. Though there are many reasons to keep your wine portions under control, sharing the occasional bottle won’t stop you from losing weight.

8. Quinoa

Technically a seed and not a grain, quinoa (keen-wah) is a good source of protein and fiber, and has a very low glycemic index. It’s also high in iron, has a complete amino acid profile (great for vegetarians) and cooks in almost no time.

9. Brown rice

A lot of people claim to dislike brown rice, but cooked properly it can be a beautiful addition to almost any meal. A small serving of brown rice can make your salads, stir fries and other vegetable dishes more satisfying, while not forcing that big blood sugar spike you’d get from eating bread.

10. Potatoes

This may surprise you, but moderate amounts of potatoes cooked in healthy oils (not processed vegetable oils) won’t make you fat. Potatoes are actually fairly high in iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and minerals, making them a healthy alternative to other starches so long as you don’t go nuts.

What are your favorite healthy carbs?

Originally published March 21, 2011.

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118 Responses to “10 Tasty Carbs That Won’t Make You Fat”

  1. I love all carbs, lol. I have never found a carb I haven’t met! Your top 10 pretty much covers most of my favorites, but I’ve never had farro. Can’t wait to try it… when I can find it!

    • thomas says:

      you could just use einkorn or spelt, at least thats what you get here when you want to buy farro

      • To clarify, I believe, farro is just the italian name for spelt, that some manufacturers have adopted to sell spelt as more “exotic” grain.

      • Catherine N. says:

        Just an FYI, none of the above are ok for celiacs! (They are all wheat). Not trying to be negative, just informative.

      • Marie says:

        Actually almost everything on that list is Ok for those with Celiac’s Disease.

      • Dee says:

        Farro and spelt are different grains. Farro can be found on Amazon or most local health food stores. I toast mine on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes in the oven at 425 then add to boiling water for 20 – 30 minutes depending on desired consistency. I like mine slightly crunchy. I toss with lemon, blood oranges and mint….or with sauteed organic mushrooms

    • CHris says:

      So explain to me why my diet consisting of 3300 cals probably compromising of at least 75% carbohydrate…tons of simple sugar carbs and starchy ones too. I love cinnamon toast crunch! So anyways, explain why last time I checked I’m about 8% bodyfat and have high energy levels. Sugar/carbs don’t make you fat. A positive energy balance makes you fat. You also realize that your body will rarely store carbs as fat when in excess. Hence when I go crazy eating a couple of boxes of cinnamon toast crunch boxes I feel extremely hot and pissing glucose. Do not get that effect on a higher protein or fat diet. I looked flat, not vascular, couldn’t get a decent pump in, trouble sleeping and digestive problems on a high residual fiber diet. The leanest I was able to get was a dehydrating 5% bodyfat. Didn’t go ketosis to get there either, still ate a ton of carbs, still even did carb refeeds. I just cut down my calories and battled my hunger hormones. Which mind you carbs have a bigger impact on leptin than any other nutrient. Plus our brains love carbs…they depend on it! Last, George Farrah the bodybuilding guru put Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler on a high carb ultra low fat diet with moderate protein on his cut. Yeah he won more Olympia and his other client Branch Warren came in second.

      • Shawn says:

        Chris as I’m sure you already know pro body builders have incredible genetics, work hard in the gym and are on tons of tissue building anabolic hormones,growth hormone and fat burning drugs. They have so much muscle mass from drug use and training that their metabolisms are very high no matter what percentage of macronutrients they eat.

      • Bess says:

        Chris…..you are a man, for one. Men’s bodies typically have way higher metabolisms and if a woman followed that diet (minus the already fit and bodybuilding physique)she would blow up like a marshmallow.

    • Steve says:

      Can you get fat or put weight on from eating to much Browne rice,,?? I have been eating it every day for the last few weeks and feel like I’ve put on weight

      • Sayeed says:

        Calculate ur daily calorie needs. Then set up ur macros aka protein carbs and fat. Example is (40 protein/ 40 carbs / 20 fats) if u more than 40 percent carbs and keep the protein and fat same. You will gain weight but if u increase carbs upto 50 and decrease either fats or protein. It will help you maintain. Also cabs turn to glycogen, and if u don’t burn it of, it is stored as fat as it the most efficient way of storing energy by the body

    • Cindy says:

      Thanks for sharing Rae Lynn, I tried telling Malcolm that Red potatoes or sweet potatoes would be fine, but he did not believe me. I showed him this article! I would not overdue it. Have a great day, and say hi to your mom, dad, and Brother for Malcolm and me.

  2. thomas says:

    what do you mean by the last point, aren’t potatoes cooked in …. water?

    • Darya Pino says:

      Most Americans eat fries cooked in processed vegetable oils, and I didn’t want to give the impression that French fries are part of a weight loss diet plan.

      • thomas says:

        true, just threw me that you would suggest frying anything when on a weight loss diet 😉

      • julie says:

        I eat an awful lot of roasted potatoes (with random other roasted roots and greens and sprouts), and it helps me with weight maintenance, though I still have to include protein and more fat than the little bit of roasting oil. Oddly enough, every time the Irish guy I work with sees me eating potatoes, he asks if I’m on a diet. Not sure why potatoes (as opposed to french fries or hash browns) are made out to be such villains. Or a bit of fat, really. Of course, in my case, skin is still on and I eat them luke-warm at work, so there’s also some resistant starch thing that you don’t have with fried hot potatoes.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I actually think fat is helpful in weight loss. It’s just the processed vegetable oils that worry me.

      • Sarah says:

        Forgive my ignorance, what qualifies as a processed vegetable oil? Is canola oil ok?

      • Darya Pino says:

        It depends on how it is produced. Most canola oil is unfortunately made by industrial methods using high heat. I prefer cold-pressed olive oils or coconut oil/grapeseed oil for higher temps.

      • Laurie Lauter says:

        In cooking, the smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which it begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids, and produce bluish smoke. The glycerol is then further broken down to acrolein which is a component of the smoke. It is the presence of the acrolein that causes the smoke to be extremely irritating to the eyes and throat. The smoke point also marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation. Therefore, it is a key consideration when selecting a fat for frying, with the smoke point of the specific oil dictating its maximum usable temperature and therefore its possible applications. For instance, since deep frying is a very high temperature process, it requires a fat with a high smoke point.

        The smoke point for an oil varies widely depending on origin and refinement.[1] The smoke point of an oil does tend to increase as free fatty acid content decreases and degree of refinement increases.[2][3] Heating oil produces free fatty acid and as heating time increases, more free fatty acids are produced, thereby decreasing smoke point. It is one reason not to use the same oil to deep fry more than twice.[1] Intermittent frying has a markedly greater effect on oil deterioration than continuous frying.[4]

        Considerably above the temperature of the smoke point is the flash point, the point at which the vapors from the oil can first ignite when mixed with air.

        The following table presents smoke points of various fats:

        Fat Quality Smoke Point
        Almond oil 420°F 216°C
        Avocado oil Refined 520°F 271°C[5]
        Avocado oil Un-Refined, Virgin 375-400°F 190-204°C
        Butter 250–300°F 121–149°C
        Canola oil Expeller Press 375-450°F[6] 190-232°C
        Canola oil High Oleic 475°F 246°C
        Canola oil Refined 400°F 204°C[1]
        Castor oil Refined 392°F 200°C[7]
        Coconut oil Extra Virgin (Unrefined) 350°F[8] 177°C
        Coconut oil Refined 450°F 232°C
        Corn oil Unrefined 352°F 178°C[7]
        Corn oil Refined 450°F 232°C[1]
        Cottonseed oil 420°F 216°C[1]
        Flax seed oil Unrefined 225°F 107°C
        Ghee (Indian Clarified Butter) 485°F 252°C
        Grapeseed oil 420°F 216°C
        Hazelnut oil 430°F 221°C
        Hemp oil 330°F 165°C
        Lard 370°F 188°C
        Macadamia oil 413°F 210°C
        Mustard oil 489°F 254°C
        Olive oil Extra virgin 375°F 191°C
        Olive oil Virgin 391°F 199°C[7]
        Olive oil Pomace 460°F 238°C[1]
        Olive oil Extra light 468°F 242°C[1]
        Olive oil, high quality (low acidity) Extra virgin 405°F 207°C
        Palm oil Difractionated 455°F 235°C[9]
        Peanut oil Unrefined 320°F 160°C
        Peanut oil Refined 450°F 232°C[1]
        Rice bran oil 415°F 213°C
        Safflower oil Unrefined 225°F 107°C
        Safflower oil Semirefined 320°F 160°C
        Safflower oil Refined 510°F 266°C[1]
        Sesame oil Unrefined 350°F 177°C
        Sesame oil Semirefined 450°F 232°C
        Soybean oil Unrefined 320°F 160°C
        Soybean oil Semirefined 350°F 177°C
        Soybean oil Refined 460°F 238°C[1]
        Sunflower oil Unrefined 437°F 225°C
        Sunflower oil Semirefined 450°F 232°C
        Sunflower oil, high oleic Unrefined 320°F 160°C
        Sunflower oil Refined 440°F 227°C[1]
        Tea seed oil 485°F 252°C
        Vegetable shortening 360°F 182°C
        Walnut oil Unrefined 320°F 160°C
        Walnut oil Semirefined 400°F 204°C

      • Laurie Lauter says:

        Do not use Canola oil. For high heat I cook with coconut oil. I only buy my oils at the health food store or online. Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Almost all commercial grade canola oil is then refined using hexane. Finally, the crude oil is refined using water precipitation and organic acid, “bleaching” with clay, and deodorizing using steam distillation.[22] Approximately 43% of a seed is oil.[23] What remains is a rapeseed meal that is used as high quality animal feed. 22.68 kg (50 lb) of rapeseed makes approximately 10 L (2.64 US gal) of canola oil. Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods. Its reputation as a healthy oil has created high demand in markets around the world, and overall it is the third most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world.[24]

        The oil has many non-food uses, and often replaces non-renewable resources in products including industrial lubricants, biofuels, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks.

        The average density of canola oil is 0.92 g/ml.[25]

    • Suzette says:

      Some people cook potatoes in oil to fry them as in French fries and potato chips. I doubt that you haven’t eaten these at one time in your life.

  3. Kaye says:

    What about barley?

  4. Tripp says:

    Kind of a specialized question, but I have a feeling many of your readers (i.e. active) might wonder. I train for half marathons and I always hear carb-loading preached for recovery. Do you think this serves a purpose? What is a healthy daily intake for someone who trains 1-2 hours 5 days a week? Should I narrow in on your top ten “carbs” or are they less useful for recovery than “traditional” carbs?

    Thanks a ton. Love your blog!

    • Alex says:

      Carb-loading before an exhausting physical activity is essential to performing your best. It isn’t unhealthy to carb-load, it’s just obviously going to drastically minimize your ability to lose weight. Given that you’re most likely going to burn every store of glycogen in your body during a marathon, I’m sure you won’t be storing any significant amount of fat.

      If you’re carb-loading after an activity, I’ve heard this is essential to recovery so you don’t end up turning to muscle for energy and repair. Again, you’re going to minimize weight-loss, but you’re also minimizing muscle-loss, so… I’d say it’s a good idea. It’s highly doubtful that you are going to overeat in carbs SO much during your carb-load that you end up storing a ton of fat. I really wouldn’t worry.

      Darya, correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Honestly a half marathon doesn’t require much dietary adjustment at all–it’s really not that far. I don’t think carb loading is necessary. In fact, there’s a whole philosophy that carb free training is better (check out the CrossFit guys). I disagree and I think some carbs can be helpful, but I don’t think loading up is necessary, especially for distances under 15 mi.

      For recovery, protein and a small amount of slow digesting carbs are your best options. My personal favorite training food is beans. Seriously, best workouts ever 🙂

  5. Rob says:

    While I like your list, I might argue against the “quinoa is high in protein” statement (only about 3-4g in 1/2 cup cooked). Cup for cup, I believe you get more from most beans or most dairy products. I think the important distinction to make though it that quinoa is considered a complete protein.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Totally agree, but because the protein in quinoa is complete it is more bioavailable than it is in beans. Dairy is also complete, but a lot of people are intolerant of dairy.

      • Rob says:

        Right, I just think calling it “high protein” can be misleading. Though I suppose most folks don’t understand the differences between complete and incomplete proteins.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Still agree. I felt it was implied that I meant high relative to other grainy, starchy foods.

  6. Chris says:

    Just finished my breakfast of another great healthy whole grain–cooked millet with fresh blueberries, raisons and ground fax. Yummmm! Cooks up in 20 minutes.

    Farro is new to me. What is its origin?

  7. So happy you put out this list. I follow a lower carb diet and I agree with this list. So glad you put potatoes too, because I find I can eat potatoes but not bread and lose weight.

  8. Chris says:

    While it is not something I ever gained a taste for, poi (made from the taro plant) is considered one of the healthier starches on the planet. Not only the most hypo-alergenic startch on the planet, it has a low glycemic load of 28 (thought a higher glycemic index). It freezes and stores well and most of it comes from Hawaii so you are supporting US farmers.

  9. Aaron D says:

    Out of this list, wine would be my favorite healthy carb… with brown rice as a close second.

    PS how do yams/sweet potatoes stack up against regular potatoes?

    PPS is wine much different from beer? as a far as calories per serving and the body’s reaction to sugar?

    • Darya Pino says:

      If you like brown rice you should definitely try farro, it’s amazing.

      Sweet potatoes are good, and if anything more nutritious than regular potatoes. I was trying to keep this list simple, but most natural foods are fine.

      Beer is much, much worse than wine, because it contains maltose which is very fattening.

  10. As one who is so sensitive to carbs, I agree with everything you wrote. I can eat brown rice, potatoes, real oats, milk, and have no problems. If I eat a bowl of pasta, everything changes. I can tell by how hungry I am for the next meal. I eat apples every day and these actually save me from hunger, and make me feel good, but fruit is tricky. You have to find your own zone with this. And, thanks for the info on wine. Makes my joy of a glass of red much more joyful.

    • Darya Pino says:

      🙂 Yep, in my experience people are very different in which carbs they can tolerate, but most people can handle these.

    • jen says:

      I have had an apple morning tea and orange afternoon tea everyday last 30 days, they are my snacks nothing else apart from brekky lunch dinner,
      Healthy living plan

  11. Robert says:

    I wish I could be sure I wouldn’t gain weight; I am really carbophobic. I would love to eat sweet potatoes, rice and beans, but there’s that fear.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I had the same fear, but I took a leap of faith on the science and not only did I not gain weight, but lost it. Everybody’s different, but I know many people with the same story as me. Here’s my story.

  12. I love bulgar! (Anything buckwheat.) Many carbs make me really tired about an hour after I eat. I don’t do well with oatmeal for some reason.

    I wonder why some people are more sensitive to carbs than others?

  13. Jan says:

    Hi Darya,

    After reading your blog since summer of ’09, I am finally ready and confident to take that leap into improving my health style. I have decided to incorporate whole grains into my healthy diet. I am making these small changes gradually as I am still getting used to this low-sugar, healthier, active lifestyle but still tend to feel “carb guilt” from time to time.

    So far I am eating one serving (1/2 cup) of oatmeal every morning and I sweeten it with a tsp of cinnamon. Is this amount good enough in terms of getting the proper nutrients from whole grains?

    I am trying to eat more vegetables (6-8 servings of vegetables everyday at 2-3 servings of 3-4 different vegetables).

    As for protein, I wanted to know what you (and not the government’s food pyramid) thought was the minimum we should have each day? For example, would a can of sardines at 23g of protein be enough?

    Thanks Darya.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Hi Jan,

      Congrats 🙂 Yep, that’s probably enough grains in your oatmeal so long as you are eating other starches like lentils or beans. I’d say the minimum protein is around .8g/lbs body weight, but these numbers are likely to be different for everyone. There is a little protein in everything, so how much meat/eggs/dairy you eat should depend on that. But as you probably know I don’t count protein grams. Also keep in mind protein is very satisfying.

      Does this answer your question?

      • thomas says:

        isn’t that a bit much?
        reasonably sized man with 160lbs or 170lbs would have to eat 140g of protein as a bare minimum. thats 700g of fish per day?

      • Darya Pino says:

        Shit, so sorry! It’s .8g per kg. Clearly I haven’t been in the lab in a while. Thanks Thomas!

  14. Daniel says:

    All carbs will make you fat if you over-eat, sugar is sugar.

    Your muscles can store 400 grams of sugar, if you keep eating carbs (even the healthiest one’s) they will all get stored as fat as there is no room for more.

    The only solution is either cut out the carbs, or workout to make room in your muscles, and then fill them up with the right amount of carbs…

    That’s why carb cycling is probably the best way to go.
    Low carb on rest days, higher carb on workout days (post-workout)

  15. Wow, I think you’ve covered my list! I definitely sneak some not in-tact whole grains in, like soba noodles or homemade whole grain breads, or cornmeal. For in-tact grains I love making steel-cut oats on the weekends and using millet when I can (my husband isn’t a huge fan). I also like to use fresh squeezed orange juice in sauces when I feel like it needs more sweetness, but I don’t want to just dump in sugar. I know it’s still sugar, but at least it’s real fruit juice too. And I like to eat the membranes after I squeeze out the juice. Cook’s treat!

    Haha. You said it about the oatmeal. How was it decided that quick cooking oats were required? That implies they’re not quick cooking already. Which they are!

    That’s interesting that alcohol doesn’t cause a glycemic response. My friend has type 2 diabetes and she limits her drinks to just one small beer or glass of wine when we’re out together because she thinks more than that will cause her blood sugar to raise too high. Is she misinformed on how that works I wonder?

    • Darya Pino says:

      Alcohol is digested similarly to fructose. For metabolically compromised people it is best to limit it for sure. The point I wanted to make is that calories in alcohol don’t translate 100% like other calories.

      • Patti RN says:

        The real problem with diabetics and alcohol (etoh) is that while the liver is breaking down alcohol, it can’t release any of its stored glycogen if your blood sugar level starts to drop. Therefore a diabetic who drinks runs the very real risk of becoming HYPOglycemic. And as we nurses point out, high blood sugar kills slowly (ie years), whereas low enough blood sugar can kill rapidly (hours).

      • Darya Pino says:

        Thanks for the clarification 🙂

  16. Tripp says:

    What are your feelings on a bakery that uses only whole grains, but grinds them in-house daily. I am thinking Great Harvest Bread Company (http://www.greatharvest.com). I am assuming this bread would still be on the slightly negative list since the grain is no longer ‘whole’ after the milling process. Thoughts?

  17. Jason says:

    My #1 is the Okinawan Sweet Potato. Imo has pale brown skin and bright purple flesh. I slow roast them in foil on the top rack of the grill and eat them cold for breakfast. It has the density, texture and sweetness of ice cream. I just cut it in half and push it up out of the skin. How can something this tasty be so good for you?

    • julie says:

      Okinawa sweet potatoes are my faves, also. Almost too sweet, really, for my tastes, but I’ll suffer, as I have a thing for purple food. I brought a bunch to my family last Thanksgiving, and my sister and nephew were amused that I eat them just like you do. They’d of course never had such a thing, liked them too.

  18. Alex says:

    Are steel-cut oats better for you than rolled oats? Thanks.

  19. Aaron says:

    All carbs can make you fat, and also can make you lean, depends on how much you eat and at which context (post-workout will result in muscle glycogen restoration, yet a calorie surplus on rest day due to high carb consumption will result in fat gain)

    You can get fat with fruit, and you can lose fat with cereals.

    In the end it all sugar, your body doesn’t care if its healthy food or not, slow digesting carb or not…

  20. del rashid says:

    Hi Darya,

    On this occasion i think i have to disagree .

  21. Loulou says:

    Thank you for the job you’re doing/sharing with/for us, I’m very fond of your videos too, I’d like to see more!
    I was wondering, can’t find anything about this: I sprout my own mix of whole/intact grains, buckwheat/red millet/green lentils/barley/black sunflower & colza seeds, after a few days and about 1/1,5 cm tail I blend them with water and bake them in the oven, it has the consistency of pudding, and I love it.
    How would you consider this?
    Nutrionnaly wise? And GI wise…?
    Thank you so much for your time and devotion, hope you’ll answer that one though…!
    Warmly, from Paris (France)

  22. m says:

    Hi Darya–

    Thanks for the great post. Would you mind differentiating between “processed vegetable oils” and just regular vegetable oil? I’m a bit confused. Are Canola oil & Grapeseed oil “processed”? Are all oils you buy at the store and cook with processed? Have I been cooking with processed oils my whole life?! (Now I’m quite alarmed.)

    Thank you!

    • Darya Pino says:

      I recommend getting high-quality, minimally processed oils whenever possible since the solvents and high-temperatures can cause the oils to have undesirable characteristics. Canola oil is genetically modified and processed using hexane. It is unclear how dangerous this might be, but the evidence isn’t very convincing at this point. Grapeseed oil is a decent choice for high-temp cooking. I use cold-pressed CA olive oil for almost everything, and coconut oil for higher temperatures.

  23. Loulou says:

    Do you have any clue about my “cooked sprouted pudding”…?
    Hope you do…!

  24. Jackie says:

    Just wanted to say I LOVE your website! I have learned so much from you. Thank you. 🙂

  25. Jackie says:

    P.S. Have you ever considered writing a book?? Seriously.

  26. KC says:

    I like that you are promoting carbs but hate that you still have the underlying “carbs will make you fat” theme…let’s stop with the anti-carb rhetoric, it simply isn’t true as study after study shows.

  27. bo n says:

    for someone who goes from a diet (unhealthy, i know) with white starch carbs (ie. white bread, white rice, etc) how tolerable would you think quinoa would be to their taste buds?

    is there anything it tastes like that one can get an idea of whether the acquired taste (other sources mention it being so) will be a hit or a miss?

    i feel like it would taste like rice flakes or couscous but fear it may also taste like brown…carbs.

    great blog, btw.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Quinoa honestly isn’t my favorite tasting grain, though lots of people love it. Mixed with enough other things and a nice vinaigrette it’s tasty though. My favorite is farro.

  28. Dee says:

    i love love quinoa!
    My favorite healthy carb is between that and green (unripe) bananas- cooked of course…

  29. Ailsa Washington says:

    Hi just to say I know we are all individuals but if I eat any of the above I stall my weight loss or put weight on! Last year I cut out all grains and dairy and that stopped my stall. I’ve moved over to Paleo now and feel so much better for it 🙂

  30. Carla M. says:

    I cook potatoes in canola oil and prefer the red skin. Of course sprinkled with a little parsley and light sea salt.

  31. Catherine N. says:

    I like buckwheat, millet! (I’m celiac, so can’t eat wheat, barley, or rye). I love potatoes, too.. Bake them in the oven… and I have some local lard which I rendered myself, which I use to cook things in sometimes.

    The biggest problem with being celiac is finding the whole grains that have not been “contaminated” with gluten. Not to mention that most “gluten-free” products are loaded with tapioca flour…

  32. Tim says:

    #10 – Potatoes cooked in healthy oils..

    I often dice up a small white or red potato, along with some onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and cook them in a little extra virgin olive oil.

    I’ve heard that olive oil is one of the good ones. Just wondering if what I’ve read is right, and is this somewhat healthy? (Goes great with 1 whole egg, and 3 whites, scrambled, with some diced roma tomatoes.. mmm

  33. navan says:

    hi it is said that we should not have dairy products/low carb (mainly milk) in the night.but i have a routine of eating less in dinner followed up by a half glass of skimmed milk with corn-flakes . otherwise i overeat.
    is it true.can you tell me more about it please.
    And if that is the case what should i eat in the night which is low fat/low carb as fruits are also high in carb ?

  34. Joe says:

    “Insulin shuttles all that extra sugar into your fat cells and you become obese”

    I almost puked when I read that. This statement and the one prior to it, implies that simply eating carbohydrates will make you fat, overweight, obese, whatever word you want to use. This is false. It isn’t simply the insulin response from a specific macronutrient (in this case, carbs) that results in fat gain, its over caloric intake. If an individual eats more calories than his or her body needs, then fat gain will result, regardless if the calories consist of quinoa and other carbs you listed, or all protein calories, or fat calories.

  35. Sarah says:

    Hey Darya – Thanks for this article! I only recently got into eating real foods and got really interested in the Paleo diet last year. That kind of scared me away from beans and lentils, but recently I have added it back in and feel so much better! I just add garbanzo beans or something to my salads, and other dishes. I think it has definitely improved my workouts and I just feel more satisfied. Anyway I have been following your site this whole time and will definitely stick to these principles from now on 🙂 Thanks for all your awesome advice!!

  36. Pablo Rosa says:

    Yuca root, plantains, sweet potatoes, taro root.

  37. Jamies says:

    There are so many things wrong in this article. You could learn a thing or two about carbs from watching Freelee the Banana Girl. I’m pigging out, as we speak, on five potatoes that were cooked in the oven. I won’t gain an ounce. Later today, I’ll eat 7 bananas in a smoothie with 6 tablespoons of coconut sugar. I’m 45 years old, and have the body and looks of a teenager. Nooo doubt!! 🙂

  38. Jean Cheng says:


  39. Sean says:

    How do 100% wholemeal and unrefined brown bread and brown rolls fair in this?

    • Darya Rose says:

      Figuring out what works for you is about balance. Any sort of bread is suspect if you’re having trouble losing weight, since it is more refined that intact grains. If you don’t need to lose weight though, it’s not a problem. Similarly, nothing is a problem if you only have it once in a while (think once every week or two). Make sense?

  40. Michelle says:

    Dear Darya, 🙂

    First of all, you look healthy thin and in your pic you have glowing skin and hair… I used to look ‘like’ that. I am a 41 year old woman, used weigh around 100 pounds basically all of my life after age 15, until the last few months I eat 2 cups of white basmati rice with a can of beans, and occasionally Taco Bell (very bad with msg, I know).
    I now weight 141 pounds, hate myself, and miss being skinny. I plan to ONLY EAT RAW fruits/vegs, stove cook wild caught salmon, and cook lentils. My question/concern is, will eating an apple a day and a cup of lentils a day make me fat/prevent weight loss? Otherwise, I plan on just balancing out any other fruits/veggies and doing plenty of fresh juicing! PLEASE help me with your advice & opinion! I want to be me again! You’re awesome! Thank You! 🙂

    • Darya Rose says:

      To be honest this sounds like a very restrictive approach and I don’t think it will work for long. I have no idea why you would think apples and lentils would cause weight gain, and I have mixed feelings about juice. Sounds like you need to read more posts on Summer Tomato and maybe pick up a copy of Foodist.

  41. Michelle says:

    P.S.- From my comment just posted… I have a very petite frame and barely 5’2 in height!
    If that helps…
    Thank you! I miss being 100 pounds! I look pregnant now!!

  42. Angie says:

    I have been trying to avoid crashing and burning around 3pm. I read that a ratio of 1/2 greens, 1/4 protein and 1/4 healthy carb is good to follow for every meal. Would you agree? I also heard that perhaps going lighter on the protein at lunch would help as it takes more energy for the body to digest it.

  43. Kelly says:

    Darya, I love your book!!! Even though I’m a farmer’s market regular, you got me to try lentils and cauliflower – and now they are staples. I’m also more open-minded about trying new veggies I find at the market. Thank You!

    I recently discovered freekeh and was surprised at the fiber content and found it to be really tasty and adaptable. (and easy to cook) What are your thoughts on freekeh?

  44. Erin says:

    Hi Darya,
    What would you consider to be “pigging out” when it comes to fruit? Is there a certain number of grams of sugar from fruit you recommend staying within? I have been struggling with this so much as I love berries and watermelon.

    • Darya Rose says:

      I think more than two servings might make it more difficult if you’re trying to lose weight. I don’t count grams of sugar.

      • Michele says:

        I limit my fruit consumption to 2 or sometimes 3 servings a day. I’m still struggling with my weight in a big way, but my triglycerides have gone down.

  45. Adam Trainor says:

    Great post, It’s good to know that all carbs aren’t that bad for you. In your list of carbs your pretty much talking about complex carbohydrates as we all know the simple carbohydrates will definitely make us fat as they are all sugars. But simple carbohydrates are used as a slow releasing energy source to get us through the day and we can burn these off when doing a workout. You’ve added potatoes in your list and I always thought potatoes were a bad carb that did cause you to put weight on. Can you help to explain this to me please.

  46. Adam Trainor says:

    So eating potatoes in small moderation is good for you. A big pile will pile on the weight? I tend to eat more sweet potatoe than white potatoes. In my own opinion I find sweet potatoes healthier than others.

  47. Robert says:

    I know this is an older post, but I’m surprised you have potatoes and brown rice on this list. They both have a fairly high glycemic effect.

  48. Vicky says:

    Wine-wise this is definitely not true! Please don’t spread this information. Any alcohol negatively impacts blood sugar each time that it is consumed, it’s basically a poison. Research has shown that it increases insulin secretion, causing low blood sugar and also blocks hormones that would normally rectify the low blood sugar.

  49. EricaAmy says:

    Buckwheat, seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, quinoa), barley, wild rice (there are a lot of interesting varieties too to try like Raw Red and Venere), chickpea (and ceci-flour). Keep it Whole and eat a variety of them in 1/3 cup portions (because a little goes a long way) along with heaps and heaps of veggies.

    Keep & eat it real!

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