To my Myth Buster Followers,

What is on the agenda today, let’s talk about carbohydrates and what they do and don’t do for you…..

Myth:-  The fewer carbs, the healthier you are?


Here’s what you need to know

Please, look at Government and Professional Accredited nutrition, dietetic and medical websites and information resources. What are carbohydrates? They are organic substances in foods and living tissues in the forms of sugars, starch and fibre, and when consumed are digested to release energy to our body for survival and living (yes NRG my favourite topic).  There are healthy carbohydrates that should be eaten readily, e.g. vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans), nuts, whole grains, milk varieties and yogurt, every day in all/most meals and snacks.

06_18_Visual for Nautilus Blog Post

The not so healthy carbohydrates that are “treat foods” and are recommended to eat in small amounts occasionally, e.g. once or twice a week, e.g. sugary cereals, cakes, white flours, jams, biscuits, preserves, white breads, refined potato products, processed foods with high amounts of sugar – baked goods, and sugary drinks/lollies. These highly processed sugary foods often make us want to eat or drink more within a short period of time, and don’t supply us with many nutrients, giving us a short burst of energy that quickly leaves us feeling flat, hungry or thirsty. If consumed regularly in your life, it can cause weight gain, increased waist circumferences, diabetes and heart disease. This is why carbohydrates get a bad rap and people go on a low carbohydrate diets (fad diet), often to lose weight that can’t be sustained long term, and guess what……… the weight goes back on and can cause stress, unhappiness and feeling of guilt or failure!!! Lets’ stop this from happening.


A lot of foods contain a mixture of carbohydrates, fibre, protein and fats, and when you choose the healthy sources of carbohydrates you will be consuming energy nutrient rich foods that gives your brain and body energy to perform. It has been proven in studies that healthy carbohydrate foods keep you satisfied for longer, prevent diseases of diabetes, chronic heart disease, aids in digestion and maintains a healthy digestive tract preventing illness and diseases. Plus these healthy carbohydrates are often good for slower long term weight loss that you can sustain for ever, if you want.

Short term effects of a low carbohydrate diet: Initial weight loss is achieved, as low carbohydrate diets are often low energy into body. The body uses its energy stores, it needs water to release energy, hence the body is becoming lighter with loss of water not fat. If the low carbohydrate diet continues, fat stores are used up making the body acidic, which can be dangerous, especially for people with diabetes. Symptoms of a low carbohydrate diet are: dizziness, nausea, dehydration, bad breath, loss of appetite, constipation and fatigue. These are warning signs, listen to them.

Long term effects of a low carbohydrate diet:  Often carbohydrates are substituted for fats and proteins in a low carbohydrate diet. Some of the effects over a period of time are weight gain as low carbohydrate diets are often not sustained and may cause yoyo dieting, severe constipation (low fibre),  kidney problems, osteoporosis and high cholesterol & obesity associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancers.

For individualised advice to meet your nutritional needs, look for an Accredited Practicing Dietitian

FACT:- The recommendations for carbohydrate foods is 45% to 65% of dietary intakes, this equates to ~310g of carbohydrates per day = ~ 5000 kJ (~1200 calories), for the average adult. E.g. 2 slices of bread (preference of wholegrain), ½ cup muesli, 1 medium potato, 1 cup mixed vegetables, 2 pieces of fruit, 1 cup milk (low fat), 200g yogurt, 1 cup  pasta, 75g of quinoa and 1 cup salad.

What does this mean:  A wide range of foods gives you energy, nutrients and keeps you satisfied throughout the day, as proteins and fats are also present in many carbohydrate rich foods. The foods listed above gives you 7000 kJ and the average adult requires 8700kJ per day. This can be a less if you are smaller and inactive or more if you are larger and very active. Adding meat, fish, poultry, legumes, cheese and olive oil to these choices of foods will easily meet your daily energy and nutrient intakes. ‘Treat’ foods can also be added to your diet by swapping a piece of fruit for a dessert. I will share an old family dessert recipe with you that is yummy, healthy and is a treat all in one. Yes it exists!!

Hot Tip:- Don’t always look at prices when buying groceries or foods. Remember that a $3 packet of biscuits, donuts or a soft drink are all high in sugars and will probably make you or your family hungry sooner than the loaf of wholegrain bread with ham, cheese and salad for $6.

Question: Should we look at the value of food by the cost, nutrients and how long it keeps us satisfied? I reckon those $6 sandwichs will give better value and feed you or family much longer with nutrients than the $3 packet of biscuits/donuts/soft drink? Food for thought……………

carbs bad
sugary carbs = illness
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Say no every day

Food supply and availability:- Healthy and unhealthy carbohydrate foods and drinks are found readily in your supermarkets, green groceries, specialty grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, takeaway food places……………..everywhere. Choose well for better health outcomes.

Links for further reading:-


Daily Intake Guide

Weight loss and carbohydrates

Macronutrient Balance – Carbohydrates, fats and proteins

Healthy carb recipes

A healthy carbohydrate dessert recipe – a family tradition of mine

French Apple Dessert

8-10 apples – peeled, cored and chopped into quarters

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1 cup of low fat milk – or soy, rice, lactose free, coconut milks

2 tablespoons butter/margarine of your choice

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoon of sugar or honey

1 teaspoons of vanilla essence

3 eggs separated

6 individual ramekins (oven proof) greased.


  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Stew apples – microwave for 7 minutes till soft or in saucepan with small amount of water
  3. Add cinnamon to stewed apples (optional)
  4. Combine Milk, vanilla essence, sugar or honey
  5. Heat milk in microwave till hot – approx. 2-3 minutes (or in saucepan)
  6. Melt nutelex in saucepan, add flour and stir till paste on medium heat – should be blonde roux (paste)
  7. Over the medium heat add a small amounts (75ml) of hot milk and stir till smooth (do this slowly as you will have no lumps), continue to add small amounts of milk till all the milk is combined with blond roux(paste) and has made a smooth sweet béchamel sauce (thickened milk sauce). Strain if necessary to remove small lumps.
  8. Allow béchamel sauce to cool to luke warm – about 15-20 mins
  9. Add the egg yolks to béchamel sauce and stir in thoroughly.
  10. Put egg whites into a clean dry bowl and beat till it forms firm peaks
  11. Fold egg white mix gently into sweet béchamel sauce mix until evenly combined
  12. Grease ramekins with oil spray or nuttelex and place on baking tray
  13. Place stewed apples into the ramekins – note only half full
  14. Spoon béchamel mix on top of apples into ramekins
  15. Bake in oven for 15-20 mins until the tops have risen and golden brown
  16. Serve immediately in ramekin on plate with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream beside

Option serve with yogurt or low fat Ice-cream or purely on its own.

Option to use 4 apples stewed and 1 cup blueberries.

Please note the topping will fall a little, don’t worry this is fine.

Health Tip- high in calcium, carbohydrates, protein with vitamins – who thought a sweet treat could be healthy and special at the same time, good to impress without the high fat burden

french apple

Enjoy……Eat well, eat fresh

By Lyn Dunkley your Myth Buster,

NRG Dietitians Australia


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