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Sports Performance | Nutrition

Good Carbs, Proteins, and Fats: Examples and Why They Should Be In Your Diet

April 6th, 2022 | 5 min. read

Good Carbs, Proteins, and Fats: Examples and Why They Should Be In Your Diet
Haley Johnston

Haley Johnston

Motion Specialist // Certified Personal Trainer // EW Motion Therapy Homewood

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If you are investigating a new diet plan, you are probably finding that many people have many different opinions about what is good and bad in a diet. One article says that you should not eat carbs, and one says you should go fat-free, gluten-free, or something else in between. You may have heard some people refer to “good” carbs, proteins, or fats, and you may wonder, what makes these foods “good”? How should I tell the difference between a good carb, protein, or fat and a bad one? 


We tell our nutrition clients at EW Motion Therapy that most foods are good in moderation, but there are some great ones with many nutrients that your body needs to perform at the level you want. Our ultimate goal is to provide some examples of good carbs, proteins, and fats so you can incorporate them into your diet, even if you do not choose to see us for nutrition advice.


This article will discuss what makes a good carb, protein, and fat, the nutritional benefits of eating them regularly, and some examples of foods to add to your next grocery list. With this information, you can ensure you get the nutrients you need to go about your day. 


Download our Nutrition Q&A here!


Why are some carbs, proteins, and fats good, but some are bad?

“Good” is sometimes a hard word to quantify, and unfortunately for chip lovers, it does not necessarily mean taste in this context. When people talk about “good” carbs, proteins, or fats, they mean that they have more nutrients and your body processes them slower. This is important to maintain the stability of your blood sugar. For example, let’s compare a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal to a bag of chips. While the chips taste great, they are highly processed, and your body will absorb them quickly, leading to a blood sugar crash. On the other hand, oatmeal has natural grains that will keep you fuller longer and give you more nutrients than the chips would. Oatmeal is an example of a good carb, and we’ll discuss more examples in just a bit.


What are the benefits of eating good carbs, proteins, and fats? 

When you fill your diet with healthy things your body needs, you feel good. You have more energy, and your body can perform at the level you want. If you eat many processed foods and high-glycemic carbs (carbs your body processes quickly), your blood sugar will be caught in a spike-drop cycle. Even though roller coasters with lots of drops can be fun, you do not want that for your blood sugar. 


You can put this to the test by eating a nutty protein bar before a hike one day and a chocolate bar before a workout on a different day. The protein bar will give you the energy you need for your hike and keep you full. However, for your workout, the chocolate bar may give you a spike of energy in the beginning, but you will probably crash shortly after, and the rest of your workout will be more difficult than usual. 


What are some examples? 

Now you may be wondering what to put on your grocery list so you can start eating more of these good carbs, proteins, and fats. Let’s discuss each of them and which ones really are “good”. There will be a shortlist of examples at the end of each section so you can begin to plan some meals and snacks. 


Good carbs 

Most nutrition experts define “good” carbs as those low on the glycemic index. This scale defines how quickly your body turns the carbohydrates into sugar, and if something is low on the index, that means your body absorbs the nutrients at a slower rate. This is a good thing for your blood sugar, as too many high-glycemic carbs can cause it to quickly crash. Also, carbs help refuel your body after workouts, as they replace the supply of glycogen your body used.

For your grocery list: sweet potatoes, squash, a serving of rice, free carbs like fruits and vegetables


Good protein 

Protein is a very important nutrient for muscle recovery after workouts, because you need to rebuild muscle tissue, which is made up of protein. “Good” protein is protein sources dense with amino acids, so that when your body breaks down the food, it can use those amino acids to rebuild muscle tissue proteins. Lean protein is usually the way to go, so that your body gets the most bang for its buck. 

For your grocery list: chicken, salmon, eggs, shrimp, Greek yogurt, tofu 


Good fats 

Fat consumption affects your cholesterol. Eating “good” fats, specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raises your HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which decreases your risk of heart disease and strokes. “Good” fats can also help regulate blood pressure.

For your grocery list: olive oil, almonds, walnuts, butter (ghee and grass-fed), avocados  


With all these options, you can plan a myriad of meals to get all the nutrients your body needs. But if you do need to substitute, whether you have an allergy or are on a plant-based diet, you can look into supplements and vitamins to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance of improving perform


How else can good nutrition help me? 

Now you know more about good carbs, proteins, and fats and some examples to incorporate into your next meal plan. Good nutrition is essential for many areas of life, especially managing stress. If you begin to build healthy habits now, you are on your way to a lifetime of good eating and substantial activity. 


When our clients come in for nutrition consultations at EW Motion Therapy, we build an individualized plan that covers all your dietary needs and your personal goals so that they can learn healthier habits at a manageable pace. If you are interested in nutrition services with us, fill out the Request an Appointment form on our website, and someone from our staff will contact you within 48 hours with your next steps. 


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