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Quiz: Are Carbs Evil?

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Which is a carb?

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Which is a carb?

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If someone tells you that they don't eat carbs, they're wrong. Bread and pasta aren’t the only carbs. Veggies, fruits, and dairy products all have carbs, too. Carbs can be good for you.

Fill half your plate with veggies or fruit at each meal. Fill 1/4 of your plate with a whole grain like brown rice, whole grain pasta, or bulgur wheat (whole grains are healthy carbs, too). The last 1/4? Choose a lean protein like fish, lean beef or pork, or chicken breast.

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Carbs make you sleepy.

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Carbs make you sleepy.

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Carbs get a bad rap. Eat too much of any food and it can make you feel sluggish. But the truth is carbs give you energy.  You need carbs. Try eating a protein -- like peanut butter or some low-fat cheese – with carbs (an apple or whole-wheat bread). That helps smooth out your blood sugar so you avoid an energy spike and crash. And your snack will keep you going for longer. 

Eat a low-carb diet and you may be more likely to break your arm.

Eat a low-carb diet and you may be more likely to break your arm.

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Weak bones may sound like a grandma problem and nothing to worry about. But low-carb diets can keep your body from using calcium to build strong bones. Almost all of your bone's growth is over by the time you’re 18 or 20. If you don’t get the calcium and vitamin D you need for your bones now, you can't make up for it later.

Get calcium and vitamin D by drinking low-fat milk and eating low-fat yogurt, dark green veggies, and some fortified cereals.

Being tired can make you crave carbs.

Being tired can make you crave carbs.

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Ever stay up late and you’re starving the next day? It happens. Why? When you're exhausted, your body wants the simplest source of energy to keep going (a quick fix)  -- and that's carbs. If you want to tame your hunger and junk food cravings, sleep! How much is enough? Aim for 8 1/2 to 9 hours.

Why is it better to choose an apple for a snack instead of candy?

Why is it better to choose an apple for a snack instead of candy?

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Fruit and candy both have sugar in them. And both are carbs. So why is an apple the better choice? Apples have a lot of healthy nutrients -- like vitamins and fiber. Candy doesn't. Plus, the sugar in an apple is natural -- it isn’t added in later. Too much added sugar -- like you’ll find in some soda, candy, and packaged foods -- can make you gain unhealthy weight.

Refined carbs are:

Refined carbs are:

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Refinement is just another word for processing. When food is processed or refined, a lot of the natural nutrients -- the good stuff your body needs -- are stripped out. What's left are empty calories that don't give you much nutritional benefit, like in white bread, for example. 

So when it comes to food and carbs, refinement is a bad thing. Pick whole grains over refined grains such as white pasta, bread, or rice when you have the chance. Also, steer clear of too much table sugar and syrups that are added to food, like high-fructose corn syrup -- those are refined, too.

If you need more energy, carbo-load.

If you need more energy, carbo-load.

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It's true that long-distance runners up the carbs they eat before a marathon. They're loading their muscles with energy to keep them going.

The problem is that a lot of us eat like we're prepping for a marathon when we're actually getting ready for an extended couch session. Eating more carbs won’t give you lasting energy -- and may leave you sluggish afterward.

Need a pick-me-up? You may not be hungry. Try getting up and moving for 15 minutes. Stretch, put on your ipod and go for a quick walk, or shoot some hoops. Getting your blood pumping can re-energize you.

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Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.

Nice work! You know that carbs aren’t evil. Remember to fill half your plate at each meal with veggies or fruit. And pick whole grains over refined grains when you have a choice.

Not bad! But looks like you learned some stuff about carbs and how they aren’t always evil. Remember to fill half your plate at each meal with veggies or fruit. And pick whole grains over refined grains when you have a choice.

Hey, carbs aren’t that bad! Looks like you learned some new stuff about carbs. Remember, fill half your plate at each meal with veggies or fruit. And pick whole grains over refined grains when you have a choice.