The newest, healthier carbs you need to know about

That's right! Technology is a beautiful thing, and these are some recently developed alternatives to help reduce the carb loading in your diet. 

The newest, healthier carbs you need to know about

That's right! Technology is a beautiful thing, and these are some recently developed alternatives to help reduce the carb loading in your diet. 

Some people avoid them like the plague, while for others they are the reason for living, carbs. The range of plant-based foods that form the base of the diet and are the primary fuel for the muscles and for the brain.

Now like all types of food, there are some carbs that are better for us than others and as we move away from more processed carbohydrates and opt for healthier, more natural options, more and more carb-based foods are popping up on supermarket shelves. So, what are some of the latest versions of carbs you can find in mainstream supermarkets and are they are good choice nutritionally?

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Pea pasta

There have been a number of different legume-based pasta’s available for some time and while these types of pasta have more dietary fibre and protein than traditional pasta, they are not overly low in carbohydrate.

More recently, 100% vegetable-based pasta, or pasta made with a base of konjac, a Japanese vegetable with a high fibre content means that there are now types of pasta available that are low in carbohydrate.

Not only are these being a perfect substitute for anyone keen to keep their carbohydrate intake controlled, but they also give you an extra vege and dietary fibre serve or two when you enjoy your favourite pasta dishes.

Low carb flour

Previously unheard of in the baking aisle, the growing range of low carb and higher protein baking blends is seriously revolutionising the way we look at our favourite cakes, muffins and bread.

Made from a range of different bases including sweet potato starch, coconut along with sugar replacements, while you will pay a lot more for these specialty flour blends if you are looking for lighter baked goods, they are worth a try.

Keep in mind though that the taste and texture of breads and cakes made using these products will be quite different to traditional flour, so keep your expectations controlled.

BarleyMax products

BarleyMax barley is a wholegrain that has been developed by scientists at CSIRO and contains twice the dietary fibre of regular wholegrains.

More specifically the different types of dietary fibre found in BarleyMax have been shown to offer a range of digestive health benefits. This means that bread, wraps, breakfast cereal and snack bars made with a base of BarleyMax flour are a nutrient rich addition to any diet.

Veggie Crackers

Savoury crackers are typically a blend of wheat flour, vegetable oil and salt, and while they may not contain the added sugar that sweet biscuits do, nutritionally they do not offer a lot. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of seeded crackers, which add extra protein, good fat and nutrients such as zinc to crackers but even more recently we are seeing vegetable-based alternatives to wheat-based crackers.

Here beetroot, sweet potato and cauliflower-based crackers offer a tasty, more nutritious alternative to high fat cracker options. The downside to this is that they are relatively expensive, retailing at $5-$7 per packet but nutritionally they are much better options for platters and as a base to your favourite dip, cheese or nut spread.

Legume Chips

Just because something looks or sounds healthier does not always mean that it is, and in the case of the growing range of legume and vegetable-based chips you find in supermarkets you do need to be careful.

The average fried crisp will contain anywhere between 18-30% fat, with minimal protein. Legume based chips on the other hand do tend to contain less fat, with as little as 10-20% fat overall with 2-3g of dietary fibre or protein per serve.

So, they are slightly better nutritionally than regular chips but still a processed food that should be consumed in moderation, and always check your labels as there are vast differences between products.

Fruit and vegetable flours

Banana flour has been around for a while, but more recently a number of other gluten free flour alternatives including coconut and tapioca can easily be found on mainstream supermarket shelves.

Especially appealing to those who need gluten free flours, not all are lower in carbs, rather it differs widely. Coconut flour for example is much higher in fat and lower in carbs than regular flour, while banana flour is extremely high in dietary fibre and you need much less when you cook with it.

Overall though there is a growing range of flour alternatives that cater for many dietary preferences and requirements and that is only a good thing.

Susie Burrell holds two honours degrees in Nutrition & Dietetics and Psychology. She is especially known for her practical, easy to understand approach to diet, nutrition and wellbeing.