6 'Bad' Carbs That Are Actually Good For You

Despite their bad rap, these carbs are good for your health and your waistline.

  • Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, some carb-heavy foods have been unfairly blacklisted. But there’s no need to be scared of spuds or ban bananas. We’re setting the record straight—so dig in guilt-free!
01 of 06

Corn

Corn gets a bad rap because it’s frequently found in packaged, processed food that can be void of nutrients. But real, straight-up corn is a healthy whole grain, points out Jessica Levinson, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist. “It’s a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy vision,” she says. Grill corn on the cob, heat up popcorn, or top a salad with fresh kernels.

Try this recipe: Grilled Chicken Cutlets With Summer Succotash

Watch the video: An Amazing 5-Minute Fat-Burning Chicken Recipe

02 of 06

Bananas

This is a great, nutrition-packed option for breakfast, or even an afternoon snack. Bananas are full of resistant starch to power you up, and the almond butter has heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Get the recipe: Banana and Almond Butter Toast

03 of 06

Breakfast cereal

carb-cereal
Getty Images

There’s no need to shun a bowlful of flakes. Many cereals are made with whole grains these days, so they can be a healthy way to start your day. Just check the label: Look for a short ingredients list with whole grains at the top and at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

04 of 06

White potatoes

carb-potatoe
Getty Images

We know we’re supposed to limit white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Somehow potatoes got swept up in that ban, too. “White potatoes are actually very good for you,” says Christian Henderson, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist. “They're a great source of potassium and vitamin C, and they have almost 4 grams of fiber with the skin on—15% of your recommended daily allowance." As an alternative to the classic sour cream-slathered baked potato, try cutting potatoes into cubes, tossing them with olive oil and rosemary, and roasting until crisp.

05 of 06

Sourdough Bread

sourdough-bread
Getty Images

You don’t always have to pick whole wheat bread. Traditional sourdough is made through a process of fermentation, so it contains beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. “When these good bacteria are present in the bread-making process they help break down some of the gluten, so sourdough may actually be easier on gluten intolerant people than other gluten-containing breads,” Henderson says. “They also lower your insulin response and make some nutrients more readily available for digestion.”

06 of 06

Green peas

carbs-peas
Getty Images

Sure, they’re higher in carbs and sugar than non-starchy vegetables—they’re even on some low carb diets’ “foods to avoid” lists. "But peas are a great source of phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity," Henderson says. One in the spotlight is coumestrol, which has been shown to potentially protect against stomach cancer, Henderson adds. A cup of cooked green peas also boasts more than 7 grams of filling fiber. Eat them straight up or in soups or salads, or add dried peas to a trail mix.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles